How Do You Stop a 400-lb Running Back? You Don’t!

At 6’4”, (190 centimeters) and 400 lb (181 kilograms), Tony Picard, a senior at the White Swan High School in Yakima, Washington, is not only the biggest running back in high-school football, but probably the biggest in the history of pro football, as well.

Just like the famous William “Refrigerator” Perry, who played for the Chicago Bears during the 80’s and 90’s and is known as one of the biggest players to ever play pro football (6’2” and 335 lbs.), Tony “The Tone” Picard started out as an offensive lineman, but after his coach noticed his unusual speed, he was reinvented as an unlikely running back. His qualities for the position became evident at a football camp a couple of years ago, during a game of basketball. “He was so agile and making shots from way out there,” White Swans coach, Andrew Bush, recalls. “I said ‘I’ve got to use this somehow.’” He gave Picard just two instructions: average 4 yards per carry and don’t fumble. In the first 10 games of this season, the Tone has averaged 5 yards per carry. “Most teams will sacrifice five guys to stop him: four linemen and a middle linebacker. That leaves three guys on each side to stop the rest of our team,” the coach says. “Everything else opens up: our outside running, our play action, and our entire passing game. We average about 450 yards as a team offensively.”


Picard, who says he gets his size from his mother’s side, is pretty modest about his role on the White Swans team. “I kind of make a path for the smaller guys to score and serve as a decoy,” he says, but he forgets to mention that he runs about 80-120 yards per game and scores a touchdown or two, as well. The Tone has helped the White Swans secure the number one spot in their division this season, and his coach says the championship just isn’t going to be the same after he graduates next year. “It’s just not going to be as much fun,” Bush told the Indiana Country. “When we come out of the locker room and watch the other team’s heads; they’ll [no longer] turn and look at what they’re going to have to tackle.”


Although he hasn’t yet made up his mind about where he will play next year, chances are Tony Picard will be recruited as a lineman. But since stopping a 400-pound running back is pretty tough, he’ll probably get the chance to carry the ball on short touchdown runs.


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