As the NFL has evolved over the years, the fullback position has drastically morphed from a critical component of many offenses to nearly non-existent on most teams.
Few teams, Seattle being among them, still see the benefit of using a fullback consistently in today’s pass heavy game. Yet, fullbacks were not always used in such as sparse manner, as they weren’t limited to just blocking, but also carried and caught the football out of the backfield.
The flashy statistics may have dwindled as the years have passed by, but the Seahawks can say that they have enjoyed a great deal of success at the position over multiple decades.
In an attempt to balance stats with blocking efficiency, here is my list for the top five fullbacks in Seahawk history.
5. Don Testerman
Seahawks Tenure: 1976-1978
Career Stats: 860 Rushing Yards, 594 Receiving Yards, 7 Touchdowns
The first fullback in Seahawks history, Testerman eventually yielded time to David Simms. However, he was Seattle’s second leading rusher in 1977 and also chipped in with 219 yards as a receiver. He scored five total touchdowns during that season, helping the team win five more games than they did during their inaugural season in 1976.
Testerman passed away from dementia in May of 2018. Upon his passing, his son, Troy Testerman, recounted how proud his father was to don number 42 for his Seahawks.
4. Michael Robinson
Seahawks Tenure: 2010-2013
Career Stats: 133 Rushing Yards, 264 Receiving Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Originally drafted by the 49ers in the fourth round, Robinson played four years at Penn State as a quarterback. His combination of size, speed, and toughness led to his conversion to fullback and he eventually became a Pro Bowler for the Seahawks in 2011.
Though his stats don’t immediately jump off of the page, Robinson was a battering ram as a lead blocker and paved the way for Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks to capture their first Super Bowl title in 2013. Interestingly, that victory came after he was cut and later re-signed just before the start of the season after losing 30 pounds of water weight from a prescription drug. Upon his recovery, he was brought back into the fold and made a key member of the Seahawks ground attack, riding off into the sunset with the Lombardi Trophy.
3. Dan Doornink
Seahawks Tenure: 1979-1985
Career Stats: 1,530 Rushing Yards, 1,940 Receiving Yards, 25 Touchdowns
“Doctor Dan” as some would call him, became as well known for his work off the field as well as on it. While suiting up for the Seahawks, he studied medicine at the University of Washington Medical School, eventually earning his M.D.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Doornink will always be remembered for starting in place of injured starter Curt Warner for the 1984 Wild Card Game, showing he could be a weapon with the football in his hands. Throwing the ball only 10 times in the game, coach Chuck Knox fed the bruising back 29 times and he rushed for 126 yards as the Seahawks grinded out a 13-7 win over the Raiders.
2. John L. Williams
Seahawks Tenure: 1986-1993
Career Stats: 4,579 Rushing Yards, 4,151 Receiving Yards, 34 Touchdowns
In what would signify a vastly different era of the NFL, the 5-foot-11, 231-pound Williams was taken in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, emerging as a jack of all trades during the peak of the fullback position.
Coming out of Florida, Williams racked up the fifth-most rushing yards in Seahawks history, putting him ahead of star running backs such as Ricky Watters in the franchise record books. He rushed for over 700 yards three different times and earned Pro Bowl nods in 1990 and 1991. He also became one of Seattle’s most reliable receiving weapons, catching 58 or more passes five times in eight seasons. With over 4,000 receiving yards in his career, he currently ranks seventh on the Seahawks all-time list.
1. Mack Strong
Seahawks Tenure: 1994-2007
Career Stats: 230 Rushing Yards, 1,456 Receiving Yards, 15 Touchdowns
A powerful road grader out of the backfield that help drive Seattle to its first Super Bowl, Strong led the way for running back Shaun Alexander and the Seahawks dynamic rushing attack. When fans remember Alexander’s 2005 MVP season, the credit often is split between the star back and an offensive line featuring Hall of Famer Walter Jones and future Hall of Famer Steven Hutchinson.
However, many forget about how valuable Strong was to the success of Seattle’s ground game, as he was finally voted to his first Pro-Bowl and earned First-Team All-Pro recognition for his efforts that season. He served as a model of consistency for the Seahawks, as the undrafted fullback out of Georgia missed only 12 games between 1994 and 2006. Appearing in 201 games over 14 seasons, he thrived as a lead blocker for three different 1,000 yard rushers, including Alexander, Watters, and Chris Warren, an incredible feat that makes him worthy of this top spot on its own.