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The new "Moose?"

The Dallas Cowboys haven't had a fullback as good as Daryl "Moose'' Johnston since he retired. But the Cowboys may have found someone in the same mold as the Lewiston-Porter High School legend and Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Famer.

Williamsville's Chris Gronkowski got the ultimate complement for a fullback when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told The Dallas Morning News that Gronkowski reminds him of Johnston, who the bone-jarring lead blocker for just-inducted Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith during the Cowboys' Super Bowl championship years in the early 1990s.

Gronkowski, an undrafted rookie out of Arizona, is having a good training camp. In fact, the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder has looked so good that DMN beat reporter Todd Archer already is predicting Gronkowski will win the starting fullback job over incumbent Deon Anderson.

Archer speculates the Cowboys could keep both players given their injury situation at tight end. Gronkowski, whose college career began at Maryland, served as a hybrid fullback/H-back/tight end at Arizona. Tight end is certainly in his blood with brothers Rob (a former Arizona teammate and rookie in New England) and Dan (entering his second year in Detroit) playing the position.

"He's versatile and he doesn't make many mistakes," Phillips said of Chris, who was praised by the coach for his performance against Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame game. "I'd like him to learn the fullback position before we go and put him at tight end."

No matter where he lines up, it's clear that Gronkowski is making a favorable impression in Cowboys camp. And it doesn't hurt that he's caught the eye of the team's owner.

---Allen Wilson


NFL | Training camp
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