5 Minutes with Keith Byars

February 19, 2013 – In addition to interviewing Jorge Posada at Bucky Dent’s golf outing in Lake Worth, Florida, I also spoke with former NFL fullback Keith Byars.

Byars became a star for the Ohio State Buckeyes before playing for four NFL teams during a 13-year pro career.

When Byars was with the Miami Dolphins, he etched his name in the team’s record book. On a snow-covered field at the old Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day of 1993, Byars raced 77 yards for a touchdown. To this day, no Miami Dolphin has recorded a longer run.

“I don’t think it’s snowed in Dallas since then,” Byars said. “I got a great block from [former Miami Dolphins tight end] Keith Jackson. I made a move to make one of their linebackers miss me, and all I saw was snow. That’s when I turned back into the track star I was in high school. I didn’t want to get caught from behind, and fortunately, I was able to outrun everyone. I had always taken short steps, and that was perfect for those weather conditions.

As great as the run was, Byars made the moment even more special when he reached the end zone. What I will also remember from that game — which I watched from my parents’ home in New Jersey — is that Byars made an angel in the snow.

“I just wanted to make it memorable,” Byars said. “I grew up in Ohio where we spent a lot of time playing in the snow. That wasn’t the first snow angel I ever made. When I woke up that morning, I was happy it was snowing in Dallas, because that’s what I grew up playing football in.”

Lastly, I asked Byars about Bucky Dent’s efforts in raising funds for the Delray Beach American Little League. The former Yankees shortstop has literally kept the league in business for nearly three decades by donating the funds from each of the twenty-nine annual golf outings he has hosted.

“I’ve coached Little League baseball in Delray Beach for a few years, and the proceeds from Bucky’s events make it possible for those kids to play,” Byars said. “Bucky does a tremendous job of helping out the kids in this area. He’s a great guy, and I’m happy to be here to support his efforts.

The rest of the interview with Byars will be published in Yankees Magazine later this season.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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