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Karney scores points with blocking ability

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Jul 30, 2007 JACKSON, Miss. — Scoring three touchdowns in a game is what would be considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an NFL fullback. After all, it’s considered a rarity when they score three ...

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Old 07-30-2007, 06:22 AM   #1
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Cool Karney scores points with blocking ability

By SHELDON MICKLES
Advocate sportswriter
Published: Jul 30, 2007

JACKSON, Miss. — Scoring three touchdowns in a game is what would be considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an NFL fullback. After all, it’s considered a rarity when they score three in an entire season.

But 7 1/2 months after scoring three times in a 42-17 trashing of the Dallas Cowboys on national television, no one has to remind New Orleans Saints fullback Mike Karney that that’s not what he gets paid to do.

Karney, a 5-foot-11, 258-pound battering ram, makes his living opening holes for Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush to run through. Which is why he was talking Saturday about something he did just before his third trip to the end zone against the bewildered Cowboys that December night.

“Right before the third touchdown, I got (Cowboys middle linebacker and former LSU standout) Bradie James really good,” Karney said. “To tell you the truth, I was more proud of that than my touchdown.”

It was easy to tell that Karney enjoyed it more considering his eyes grew larger with each word that came out of his mouth.

Karney, who had a 2-yard run for the first touchdown of his 44-game NFL career, also caught scoring passes of 3 and 6 yards. Three weeks later, the four-year veteran was named a second-team All-Pro selection behind his friend and training partner, Lorenzo Neal of the San Diego Chargers.

To be mentioned on the same team as Neal, who’s considered by many to be the best blocking back in the game, is quite a compliment to Karney.

He has known Neal, who began his 15-year NFL career with the Saints, since his senior year at Arizona State and aspires to become the next big thing at the position — whenever Neal decides to retire.

According to Saints running backs coach George Henshaw, who coached tight ends when Neal played for the Tennessee Titans, it’s not a stretch to think it can happen.

“Lorenzo has really made a name for himself for a long time with his blocking, and he takes it very seriously,” said Henshaw. “Lorenzo and (Seattle Seahawks fullback) Mack Strong have been good for a long, long time, but they’re getting up in age and the next wave is coming in.

“It’s a real challenge for Mike, but that’s what he wants to do,” he said. “He wants to work hard and be as good as they are.”

For Karney, it’ll start with earning a trip to the Pro Bowl this season. Strong, a 14-year veteran, has been the starter for the NFC the last two seasons.

“The Pro Bowl has been my goal for a long time,” Karney said. “As a fullback, that’s the goal you shoot for because you can’t rush for 1,000 yards and you can’t catch that many balls.”

But you can blow up would-be tacklers like Karney did in a 31-13 beating of the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome last Nov. 26.

Leading the way for McAllister on a simple running play, Karney laid out all three Falcons’ linebackers like a bowling ball cutting down pins. That allowed McAllister to walk into the end zone.

“Yeah, I remember that play,” McAllister said with a smile. “Mike is a big part of our offense. He’s an extension of the offensive line. He doesn’t get a lot of credit, but the things he does — you can’t describe them.”

Henshaw doesn’t mind trying. He said the best thing about Karney is that he’s not a one-dimensional player. In addition to his blocking, he has 52 rushing yards on 20 carries and 31 career receptions for 199 yards.

“Mike has done a great job for us,” Henshaw said. “We’re real pleased with the progress he is making and he gives us a lot of versatility because he can catch the ball and get in that passing game as well as the running game.

“He gives Deuce and Reggie a lot of confidence because they know he’s going to make the right block.”

Karney attributes a lot of his success to Neal. He said they hang together in the offseason and then work out three or four times a day for 10 days as training camp approaches.

“We do tons of stuff —weightlifting, running, quickness drills,” Karney said. “We pretty much just hang together and motivate each other. I motivate him and he motivates me. He’s at the top and I’m trying to get there.

“He’s taught me a lot … a lot,” he added. “He’s taught me more than just the game, showing me little tricks here and there. He’s been a great, great help in my career.”


But Neal has never scored three times in a game.

“That’s kind of like a dream game,” Karney said. “You can’t live in the past, but I have friends and family who made DVDs of the three touchdowns. It’s in the archives to show my kids and grandkids some day that I did something in the NFL when I played.”

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Old 07-30-2007, 03:27 PM   #2
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Re: Karney scores points with blocking ability

I hope he can go to the ProBowl.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:25 AM   #3
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Re: Karney scores points with blocking ability

After the numbers McAllister and Bush puts up this year he definitely will.
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