100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions: #51 Nick Pietrosante

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In this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we pay tribute to the fella who just may be the best fullback in franchise history.

51. Nick Pietrosante

Fullback. 1959-65 Detroit; 1966-67 Cleveland Browns

Pietrosante was the Lions first-round pick in the 1959 draft. The 6-foot-2, 225 pound fullback had been a star in South Bend for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and would lead the Lions in rushing in four of his six Motown seasons. He was the classic 1960’s fullback, capable of grinding out the tough yardage as well as catching the occasional pass out of the backfield. His best season on the ground would come in 1960, when he would break Ace Gutowsky’s 24-year-old single-season rushing record with 872 yards, on 161 attempts. He would also score a career-high eight touchdowns that season, being voted by his teammates as their MVP in the process.

Pietrosante would finish his Lion career in 1965 as the team’s all-time leading rusher, surpassing Gutowsky once again, with 3,933 yards, on 938 carries. His 28 rushing touchdowns still place him third on the Leos’ all-time list, behind only Barry Sanders and Billy Sims. Pietrosante earned Pro Bowl trips in 1961 and ‘62.

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