Keith Byars

American football player (born 1963)

American football player
Keith Byars
Byars in Tikrit, Iraq, signing autographs during a February 2006 troop visit.
Byars in 2006
No. 42, 41
Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1963-10-14) October 14, 1963 (age 60)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school:Roth
(Dayton, Ohio)
(Trotwood, Ohio)
College:Ohio State (1982–1985)
NFL draft:1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Career history
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1986–1992)
  • Miami Dolphins (1993–1996)
  • New England Patriots (1996–1997)
  • New York Jets (1998)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:3,109
Rushing average:3.6
Rushing touchdowns:23
Receiving yards:5,661
Receiving touchdowns:31
Player stats at · PFR
College Football Hall of Fame

Keith Alan Byars (born October 14, 1963) is an American sports broadcaster and former professional football player. He played as a fullback and tight end in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. He played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Early life

Byars attended high school at the now-defunct Roth High School in Dayton, Ohio and Trotwood Madison High School, in Trotwood, Ohio.

College career

Byars was a tailback with the Ohio State Buckeyes from 1982 to 1985, under head coach Earle Bruce.

In 1984, Byars finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting (behind Doug Flutie) after a season where he gained an OSU record 2,441 all-purpose yards, including a then-school record 1,764 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.[1] That season featured a game against Illinois (Ohio State won this game 45–38 on October 13, 1984) in which Byars led a comeback from a 24–0 deficit, rushing for 274 yards and five touchdowns, the last with 36 seconds remaining in the game. On his fourth touchdown run, going for 67 yards, he famously lost his left shoe at the Illini 40 but never broke stride. Byars was a unanimous All-American selection, and voted the Big Ten Conference Most Valuable Player. His running backs coach that year was a young Jim Tressel, who would later become the Buckeyes' head coach.

Byars was a preseason favorite for the 1985 Heisman, but fractured the bone in his right foot near the little toe in preseason practice. He missed the first five games of the 1985 season, and returned too early. He reinjured the broken bone in his second game back and missed the remainder of the regular season. He attempted to return for the Citrus Bowl game on December 28, but injured his foot again in the second Ohio State offensive series of the game. Many observers note that throughout the remainder of his football career Byars was never as dominant a player as he had been in 1984. [citation needed]

Despite losing almost his entire senior year, Byars finished his college career at Ohio State with 4,369 total yards, 3,200 rushing yards, and 50 touchdowns. His 50 touchdowns remain the second most in school history.

Byars' stats with the Ohio State Buckeyes
Rushing Receiving
1982 6 24 4.0 0 1 20 20.0 0
1983 222 1,199 5.4 20 23 359 15.6 1
1984 336 1,764 5.3 22 42 479 11.4 2
1985 55 213 3.9 4 7 44 6.3 0
Totals 619 3,200 5.2 46 72 882 12.3 3

Professional career

Byars was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the tenth overall pick in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft.[2] As a professional, he played running back, fullback and tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles (1986–1992), Miami Dolphins (1993–1996), New England Patriots (1996–1997), and the New York Jets (1998). Byars was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1993.

A superb rusher, blocker, and pass receiver, Byars was a vital contributor for every team he played on. In 1988, he rushed for 517 yards, recorded 71 receptions (ranking him 9th in the NFL), and scored 10 touchdowns. In the Eagles' 20–12 loss to the Chicago Bears in the postseason, he rushed for 34 yards and caught 9 passes for 103 yards. In 1990, he recorded 81 receptions for 819 yards, the third most receptions in the NFL, rushed for 141 yards, and even completed 4 of 4 passes for 53 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the 1996 season, Byars made his first and only championship appearance, playing with the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. His team lost the game 35–21, but the 33-year-old Byars had a good performance in it, catching 4 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Byars played one year as a member of the New York Jets in 1998. He helped the Jets reach the AFC Championship Game, before losing to the Denver Broncos in his last game played in the NFL.

In his 13 seasons, Byars rushed for 3,109 yards, caught 610 passes for 5,661 yards, returned five kickoffs for 94 yards, and completed 6 of 13 passes for 119 yards and six touchdowns, with one interception. He also scored 54 touchdowns (23 rushing and 31 receiving). His six passing touchdowns are the third highest total by a running back in NFL history. Byars 610 receptions are the 2nd most catches by a fullback and 4th most by a halfback/fullback/running back in NFL history of 2018.

After retirement

Keith Byars is currently co-hosting a sports radio show with ESPN 1410 WING-AM in Dayton, Ohio where he is from—Byars hosts the show with Justin Kinner on Sunday mornings (Sunday Morning Sports) from 9-11am and he also broadcasts High School football on 101.5 HANK-FM for the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC).

He is currently a television analyst for "New York Football Weekly" and This Week in Football on the YES Network.[3]

He also coached the Boca Raton High School varsity football team in Boca Raton, Florida from 2009 to September 2011.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "The Ohio State Buckeyes Official Athletics Site:Keith Byars". Ohio State Buckeyes. Archived from the original on August 19, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  2. ^ "1986 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  3. ^ "Biographies: Keith Byars". Yes Network. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ex-Dolphin Keith Byars out as Boca Raton football coach". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. September 22, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2012.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Keith Byars.
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