Barry Foster (American Football)
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Barry Foster American Football

Barry Foster
No. 29
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1968-12-08) December 8, 1968 (age 51)
Hurst, Texas
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:223 lb (101 kg)
Career information
High school:Duncanville
(Duncanville, Texas)
NFL Draft:1990 / Round: 5 / Pick: 128
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:3,943
Rushing average:4.3
Rushing TDs:26
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Barry Foster (born December 8, 1968) is a former American football running back in the National Football League.


Foster attended Duncanville High School in Texas. He went on to attend the University of Arkansas, where he played fullback for the Razorbacks alongside a pair of tailbacks, James Rouse and E. D. Jackson, in Ken Hatfield's wishbone offense. Foster wore #18 for his entire time at Arkansas (1987-1989). Foster helped the Razorbacks win back-to-back Southwest Conference championships in 1988 and 1989, making consecutive trips to the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas on New Year's Day. Both teams would finish with a 10-2 record, and were ranked in the final polls top 15. After only three collegiate seasons, he decided to forgo his senior year after Hatfield left to coach Clemson, and entered the 1990 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 19th pick of the 5th round (128th overall) by Chuck Noll. Foster was 5'10", weighed 223 lbs, and wore #29 for the Steelers.

Barry Foster's NFL career was cut short because of injuries. For his career, he carried the football 915 times for 3,943 yards, a 4.3-yard per carry average, caught 93 passes for 804 receiving yards, scored 28 touchdowns, and went to 2 Pro-Bowls. His 1,690 rushing yards in 1992 is still the Steelers single season rushing record. Foster was known in the 90's as "The NFL's Other Barry.", a reference to himself and Barry Sanders.

Playing career

In 1990, Foster was used primarily on special teams during his rookie season. It was during this first season that he made a catastrophic blunder in a game that Steelers played against the 49ers on October 21. He was positioned to receive a kick-off, but did not field the kick because he thought that the ball would be downed by the coverage team, not realizing that the dead ball rule only applies to punts and that the kick was a de facto fumble when he didn't secure it. The result was a San Francisco recovery that eventually lead to a Steelers loss. This is one of the handful of times in NFL history that a player neglected to field a kick-off on the return team.[1]

His second NFL season, in 1991, started out with a 121-yard rushing game with a 56-yard touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills in week 2 but he sprained his ankle a few weeks later and missed five games.

In 1992, Barry Foster got the Bill Cowher era going in Pittsburgh after two seasons on the bench. Foster got the starting nod and rushed for a Steelers single season record 1,690 yards and also broke Franco Harris's team record for 100-yard games in a season with 12, that also tied Eric Dickerson's NFL record for 100-yard games. He was voted to the Pro Bowl that year and also scored 11 touchdowns. Foster finished 1992 as the AFC top rusher and second to Emmitt Smith by 23 yards for the rushing title.

In 1993, Foster's season started off strong, but injuries limited him to 711 yards in nine games with eight touchdowns. Despite the injuries, Foster still made the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row.

In 1994, Foster played 11 games (again limited due to injuries) and gained 851 yards. During a September 18, 1994 game against the Indianapolis Colts, he rushed for 179 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. He added three catches for another 13 yards - giving him more yards than the entire Colts' offense. The game was billed as Barry Foster versus Marshall Faulk, but it was no contest. "He (Faulk) wasn't the challenge," said Foster. "I respond to the challenge the defense gives me". The injury to Foster that year opened the door for rookie running back Bam Morris to take over.

The 1994 AFC Championship game would not only be Foster's last game in a Steeler uniform, but his last NFL game. Trailing the San Diego Chargers 17-13, the Steelers were mounting the go-ahead drive. On the last play of the game, a fourth down and goal from the three-yard line, Foster was in primarily as a blocker for Neil O'Donnell, but when San Diego sent no pass rush Foster ran out of the back field to become an eligible receiver on a short underneath route. The throw from O'Donnell was delayed and gave San Diego linebacker Dennis Gibson the chance to reach over Foster and bat the ball to the ground as Foster was falling to the turf of Three Rivers stadium. That play ended the Steelers' season. O'Donnell later stated that Foster was his fourth read on that play.

In 1995, Barry Foster had become expendable due to his contract, the rise of Bam Morris and the signing of former 1,000-yard running back Erric Pegram. Pittsburgh traded Foster to the expansion Carolina Panthers but he was cut in training camp when he failed a physical, after which he retired.

Later that season, Foster came out of retirement to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals after the injury to their first round draft pick Ki-Jana Carter in the pre season. But two days after signing a $1 million contract, Foster changed his mind and left the Bengals. Foster, age 26, out of football since the Carolina Panthers released him before the 1995 season began, complained that he felt like "a 60-year-old running back" after his first workout in pads with the team. He later returned his reported $300,000 signing bonus to the Bengals, left town, and retired again a few days later without playing a game. He announced that he had saved his money and had enough to retire.

Since Retirement

Since Foster retired from the NFL, he became the running backs coach at DeLay Middle School and is currently an Assistant Principal at Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas.


Note: G = Games played; Att = Rushing attempts; Yds = Rushing yards; Avg = Average yards per carry; Long = Longest rush; Rush TD = Rushing touchdowns; Rec = Receptions; Yds = Receiving yards; Avg = Average yards per reception; Long = Longest reception; Rec TD = Receiving touchdowns

Year Team GP Att Yds Avg Long Rush TD Rec Yds Avg Long Rec TD
1990 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 36 203 5.6 38 1 1 2 2.0 2 0
1991 Pittsburgh Steelers 10 96 488 5.1 56 1 9 117 13.0 31 1
1992 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 390 1,690 4.3 69 11 36 344 9.6 42 0
1993 Pittsburgh Steelers 9 177 711 4.0 38 8 27 217 8.0 21 1
1994 Pittsburgh Steelers 11 216 851 3.9 29 5 20 124 6.2 27 0
Career Totals 62 915 3,943 4.3 69 26 93 804 8.6 42 2
  • Stats that are highlighted show career high


Foster has been Married to Teray M. Foster since 1992 they have 3 children, Janea Foster, Barry Foster Jr and Tamara M. Foster. He also has a son named Shayne Foster by Cynthia Bailey of Dallas. He and his family live in the Dallas, TX area.


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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