The unqualified workhorses of the NFL who got no respect, – the Fullback, is one of my favorite positions to collect from the 80s to early 90s, so when I saw Rick Fenney pop up, I had to write him. After helping the Huskies win the Orange Bowl as a Sophmore against Oklahoma, Fenney was on the radar of NFL scouts. The Vikings selected Rick during the 8th round of the 1987 draft. With a pretty crowded backfield, including Alfred Anderson, DJ Dozier, and Darrin Nelson already established as lead backs, Fenney was able to make the squad on the merit of his special teams work. Fans embraced Rick as a sort of Great White Hope. GWH appear every few years, and they represent this lost era of white runningbacks, and are usually perceived as making it up ‘athletic talent’ with grit, determination, and intelligence.
Anyway, Rick had a pretty quiet rookie season. He scored his first NFL touchdown in 1988 and was ranked first among NFC backs in yards per carry (4.9) -with a minimum of 50 attempts that year. In 1989, the team relied on him more heavily, and he led the team in rushing over 5 contests, and ranked second on the team (behind Herschel Walker) with 588 yards. Rick’s stats declined on 1990 due to a strained knee, and he missed time in the lineup starting only 5 games and running for 376 yards and 2 touchdowns. By 1991, Rick was hobbled by a hip condition, and was only active for 11 games. He’d retire after the season, but not before GameDay made one last card of Rick.
Rick had become interested in financial planning, – something he had picked up during the off seasons from the Vikings. He landed on his feet and went right into banking. Things got bigger and bigger for Fenney, and the long of the short is, they got too big, for him to handle. Rick set up a hedge fund in 2001, and watched all his investors’ money go down the drain. He was convicted of wire fraud and went to prison, admitting that he stole up to $2.5 million dollars. After spending 3 years in prison, Fenney has been trying to better himself everyday. Surely he feels such a nauseating amount of guilt about what happened. -A lot of that money was from friends and family. He dreams of how he can make some of that money back so that he can try to pay back all his friends, neighbors, and family that he wronged, but I completely understand if he has insulated himself from the situation. It’s tough. I probably feel something similar about my student loans, and how my parents are cosigned on something I may never be able to afford to pay back.
G/Gs 63/16 Rush 358 Yds 1508 Avg 4.2 Td 11 Lg 28 |
Rec 71 Yds 628 Avg 8.8 Td 2 Lg 42