March 28, 2014

Rookie of the Year: Eddie George, 1996

Running Back, Houston Oilers

Age:  23 (Sept. 24)
College: Ohio State
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 232

George won the 1995 Heisman Trophy after a year in which he rushed for 1927 yards, gained 2344 yards from scrimmage overall, and scored 25 touchdowns. He was chosen by the Oilers in the first round of the ’96 NFL draft (14th overall) and moved directly into the starting lineup.

1996 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 335 [4]
Most attempts, game - 28 (for 141 yds.) at NY Jets 12/1
Yards – 1368 [5]
Most yards, game – 152 yards (on 26 carries) at Cincinnati 10/6
Average gain – 4.1 [16]
TDs – 8 [10, tied with four others]
100-yard rushing games – 4

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 23      
Most receptions, game – 3 (for 22 yds.) at Cincinnati 10/6, (for 22 yds.) vs. Pittsburgh 10/20, (for 34 yds.) vs. Miami 11/17, (for 32 yds.) vs. Cincinnati 12/15
Yards – 182
Most yards, game - 34 (on 3 catches) vs. Miami 11/17
Average gain – 7.9
TDs – 0

TDs – 8
Points – 48

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: Sporting News
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
2nd team All-AFC: UPI

Oilers went 8-8 to finish fourth in the AFC Central.

With the team shifting to Tennessee in 1997, George rushed for 1399 yards and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first of four straight seasons. A power runner with outstanding agility and speed enough for breakaway runs, he didn’t catch many passes in his first two years but became more involved as a receiver out of the backfield thereafter. George rushed for 1304 yards and caught 47 passes for 458 more as the team, now called the Titans, won the AFC title in 1999 and was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection in 2000 as he achieved career highs with 1509 yards, on a league-leading 403 carries, and 50 catches. However, after five years of never missing a game, foot surgery cut into his offseason conditioning regimen and he had an off-year in 2001, running for 939 yards while averaging just 3.0 yards per carry. While he came back to run for 1165 yards and score a total of 14 TDs in ’02, he was clearly in decline and, after one more season with the Titans, moved on to the Dallas Cowboys for his last year in 2004. Overall, George rushed for 10,441 yards (10,009 with the Oilers/Titans) on 2865 carries (3.6 avg.) and caught 268 passes for 2227 yards, scoring a total of 78 touchdowns.


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year).