Daryl Johnston

Daryl Peter "Moose" Johnston (born February 10, 1966) is a former fullback in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Syracuse University. He was the General Manager of the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football in 2019, and currently serves as Director of Player Personnel for the Dallas Renegades.

Daryl Johnston
refer to caption
Johnston in September 2006.
Dallas Renegades
Position:Director of Player Personnel
Personal information
Born: (1966-02-10) February 10, 1966 (age 54)
Youngstown, New York
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:242 lb (110 kg)
Career information
High school:Lewiston-Porter (NY)
NFL Draft:1989 / Round: 2 / Pick: 39
Career history
As player:
As executive:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing Yards:753
Receiving Yards:2,227
Player stats at NFL.com

Early yearsEdit

Johnston was named Western New York Player of the Year in 1983, while playing for Lewiston-Porter High School (locally known as Lew-Port) in Youngstown, New York. The Lancers won the division during his senior year in 1984.

His Lew-Port jersey (number 34) was retired on September 1, 2006. In 2008, he was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

College careerEdit

Johnston attended Syracuse University. As a redshirted freshman, he started playing on special teams and would earn the starting fullback position by his sophomore season in 1986.

While playing for Syracuse, Johnston was an All-Big East selection in 1987 and an All-American in 1988. He rushed for 1,830 yards and caught 46 passes during his collegiate career. He once gained 138 yards rushing, the most by a Syracuse running back since Larry Csonka rushed for 154 yards in 1967.

He graduated with a degree in economics.

Professional careerEdit

Johnston was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (39th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he received his nickname "Moose" from backup quarterback Babe Laufenberg because of his large stature compared to the rest of the running backs.[1] The name caught on among Dallas fans who would chant "Moooooose" whenever he made a play.

As a Cowboy, Johnston played in 149 consecutive games from 1989-1997. He also became one of the greatest special teams players in franchise history.

He scored 22 career touchdowns and had more receptions than carries. His 294 receptions is the third highest number among Cowboys running backs, totaling 2,227 yards for a 7.6 yards average, compared to 232 carries for 753 yards for a 3.2 yards average. In 1993 Johnston had 50 receptions and averaged 7.4 yards per catch.

Due mainly to Johnston's contributions, the NFL created the fullback position in the Pro Bowl.[2] Prior to this change, blocking fullbacks had little chance of beating out traditional running backs, who had better statistics. In 1993 Johnston became the first fullback ever selected for the Pro Bowl,[1] earning trips in 1993 and in 1994.

Johnston retired at the end of the 1999 season, after suffering a neck injury. He was a member of three Super Bowl winning teams.

NFL statisticsEdit

Rushing Stats[3]

Year Team Games Car Yds Avg Long TDS 1st Downs Fum Lost
1989 DAL 16 67 212 3.2 13 0 0 0 0
1990 DAL 16 10 35 3.5 8 1 0 0 0
1991 DAL 16 17 54 3.2 10 0 6 0 0
1992 DAL 16 17 61 3.6 14 0 5 0 0
1993 DAL 16 24 74 3.1 11 3 14 1 0
1994 DAL 16 40 138 3.5 9 2 11 1 1
1995 DAL 16 25 111 4.4 18 2 12 1 0
1996 DAL 16 22 48 2.2 7 0 5 0 0
1997 DAL 6 2 3 1.5 3 0 1 1 0
1998 DAL 16 8 17 2.1 6 0 0 0 0
Career 151 232 753 3.2 18 8 54 4 1

Receiving Stats[3]

Year Team Games Recs Yds Avg Long TDS 1st Downs Fum Lost
1989 DAL 16 16 133 8.3 28 3 0 0 0
1990 DAL 16 14 148 10.6 26 1 0 0 0
1991 DAL 16 28 244 8.7 22 1 15 0 0
1992 DAL 16 32 249 7.8 18 2 14 0 0
1993 DAL 16 50 372 7.4 20 1 17 0 0
1994 DAL 16 44 325 7.4 24 2 14 1 1
1995 DAL 16 30 248 8.3 24 1 11 0 0
1996 DAL 16 43 278 6.5 23 1 9 1 1
1997 DAL 6 18 166 9.2 21 1 8 0 0
1998 DAL 16 18 60 3.3 9 1 2 0 0
1999 DAL 1 1 4 4.0 4 0 0 0 0
Career 151 294 2,227 7.6 28 14 90 2 2


Johnston was considered one of the best fullbacks of his day,[citation needed] while blocking for Emmitt Smith, as Smith went on to become the all-time NFL rushing leader. However, Johnston was not the lead blocker for Smith's entire career. A neck injury prematurely ended Johnston's career. Johnston was present the day Smith broke the rushing record; he was in the broadcasting booth, but came down onto the field to hug Smith and congratulate him afterward. As Smith made his victory lap of Texas Stadium after the record setting carry, Johnston hung back in the shadows. When Smith saw Johnston, the two joined together in an emotional embrace, with Smith telling Johnston, "I couldn't have done it without you". Johnston replied, "It was my pleasure. I couldn't imagine doing it for anybody else".[4]

In 2010, Johnston was in the audience for Emmitt Smith's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During his acceptance speech, a visibly emotional Smith spoke directly to Johnston, calling out the fact that, as a fullback, he had sacrificed himself for so many years to block for Smith. "Without you", Smith said, "I know that today would not have been possible."[5]

Broadcasting careerEdit

In 2003, Johnston joined the program Players Inc Radio when it moved to Fox Sports Radio. The program was sponsored by NFL Players Inc.[6] Since 2013, Johnston has worked as a color commentator alongside Kenny Albert and formerly Dick Stockton. Previously, Johnston was on the second broadcast team with Stockton from 2001-06 and Albert from 2007-13. He also worked with Tony "Goose" Siragusa, until Siragusa's firing from the network following the 2015 season. Johnston got his start calling NFL games by doing the High Definition broadcast of Super Bowl XXXV with Kevin Harlan for CBS Sports. He was an analyst for the NFL Network's "Total Access" until 2012. Johnston also began calling the collegiate Cotton Bowl Classic game for Fox in 2009, first with Pat Summerall, and then eventually Kenny Albert. He also was a guest star of the PBS television series Wishbone in its episode "Moonbone". He appears as a regular guest on First Things First on FS1 (2017/2018) with Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe. In 2017, he continues his esteemed broadcasting career with NFL on FOX, teamed with Chris Myers and Laura Okmin.

Executive careerEdit

In 2018, Johnston became the General Manager of the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football.[7]

On May 15, 2019, he was named Director of Player Personnel for the Dallas Renegades of the new XFL.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

A native of Youngstown, New York, Johnston now resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife Diane, son Aidan, and daughter Evan.

As a standout tailback on the Lewiston-Porter High School football team, Daryl was named Western New York Player of the Year in 1984; that year, as a senior, his team won their division. Having led his team, Daryl also was among the leaders of the student body, as one of four graduates in his class of 290 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. As a redshirted freshman attending Syracuse University, Johnston played on special teams and learned from his early experiences, building a foundation for future success. He earned the starting fullback position his sophomore year, 1986, and before he graduated with a degree in economics in 1989, Johnston was named All-Big East and an All-American, rushed for 1,830 yards and caught 46 passes. His collegiate career over, he entered the 1989 NFL draft and was selected in the second round as the 39th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys and, rare as it is in professional sports, played his entire 11 year professional football career in Dallas.

Nicknamed “Moose” in his rookie year by former teammate Babe Laufenberg, the 6-2 and 242-pound back earned the starting fullback slot in 1991 and became a fan favorite not only in Dallas but in most playing venues. In his career, he scored 22 touchdowns, rushed for 753 yards and caught 294 passes for more than 2,200 yards – third highest reception total among Cowboy running backs. As a Cowboy, Johnston was a true Iron Man, playing in 149 consecutive games from 1989-97, was selected to two Pro Bowls – the first prototype fullback named to the 1994 squad – and won three Super Bowl rings. Perhaps more than statistics can measure, Johnston was known, and remains regarded, as one of the best power blocking backs in the history of the game and lead blocker for Hall of Fame and all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith.

Johnston has been a major contributor to many charities including the Special Olympics, Children's Cancer Fund, Cystic Fibrosis and Literacy Instruction For Texas (LIFT). He has also served as honorary chairman for MDA's "Aisles of Smiles" campaign, and for the American Cancer Society's Gunslingers' Ball. In 1999, Johnston's numerous community service activities led to his nomination for the prestigious "Whizzer White Humanitarian Award". He is a recipient of the Ed Block Courage award in 1992, awarded offensive MVP by the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 and received The Tom Landry Legend award in 2009. He was named to the Syracuse Football All Century Team in 2002. He is a member of the 2008 Class of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and honored with the 2016 LetterWinner of Distinction awarded by his alma mater, Syracuse University.

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Daryl Johnston NFL All-Pro and Fox Sports Net Analyst". MCPSpeakers.com. Retrieved May 29, 2005.
  2. ^ "Top 10 Best Draft Picks of the Jerry Jones Era". Dallas Observer. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Daryl Johnston Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "Daryl Johnston bio". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Emmitt Smith HOF speech". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "Closing Bell". Sports Business Daily. July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  7. ^ Thomas, Terrence (September 25, 2018). "Commanders ready to call San Antonio home". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Ex-Cowboys FB Daryl Johnston hired as director of player personnel for Dallas' XFL team". The Dallas Morning News. May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 16, 2019.

External linksEdit