One year ago: Cullen Bryant
Cullen Bryant was a mainstay of the Los Angeles Rams for 11 seasons and a running back on their 1980 Super Bowl team. Listed at 6 feet 1 and 234 pounds, Bryant was stronger than most tailbacks and he was the biggest player of his era to regularly return punts and kickoffs.
In his 13-season career (two of which were with the Seattle Seahawks), Bryant scored a total of 23 rushing and receiving touchdowns. He ran for 3,264 yards in 849 carries and caught 148 passes for 1,176 yards. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. Bryant died a year ago at age 58.
"I guess some of the ends coming down on punts or kickoffs are surprised to see a guy of my size," Bryant told The Times in 1976. "They're used to tackling smaller people and might slow up or hesitate. This gives our blockers time to set up a return."
Bryant was born in Oklahoma, spent his high school years in Colorado Springs, Colo., and played college football at the University of Colorado.
Photos, from top: Cullen Bryant in 1974 breaks away from Detroit Lions players toward the sidelines for a big gain on a kickoff return. (Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times); Cullen Bryant (Credit: Los Angeles Rams)