Skip to main content

Been There Before


It's unusual for a fullback to have any touchdowns. It's even more unusual for a fullback to to have more receiving touchdowns than rushing in his career. The life of a fullback isn't full of praise. As the paver of the way for the running back, sometimes you're only as good as the guy running behind you.

The Falcons are fortunate to have a Pro Bowl backfield in running back Michael Turner and fullback Ovie Mughelli. During his time in Atlanta, Turner's gotten plenty of love, but until last season, Mughelli had never been mentioned as a Pro Bowl talent.

He'd also never been thought of as a receiving threat either, even though he had three touchdown receptions entering last year. He added one last year, making it two straight seasons with a touchdown catch. This year, he's got two, his second coming in Sunday's win over the Panthers.

Full of life and an exuberant talker, Mughelli relishes any chance to talk about what happened on the football field. Fortunately for him, as long as the run game is prominent in Atlanta he's gotten to do that. When he makes a big catch like he did on Sunday, he gets to talk even more.

With two touchdowns by air in six games this season, he's hoping to break his current record this season.

"This is the second time I've had two touchdowns in a season, so I'm trying to get that third," Mughelli said. "It's just like we practice it. I run my route, Matt sees me, I'm open and he throws it. It was kind of high, but fullbacks don't get the ball that much, so when it's thrown anywhere in your vicinity you better catch it."

Once he caught it he made it count, doing his rendition of the late-90's era Falcons endzone celebration, The Dirty Bird. When asked about his dance in the locker room after the game, he glanced at his next-door locker mate, Michael Turner who found the endzone twice on Sunday, and took a friendly jab.

"I was a little excited because Michael Turner doesn't do any touchdowns, I figured I'd have to do something," the fullback said. "Michael throws the ball up and walks away because he's 'been there before.' As a fullback I haven't 'been there' a lot of times, so I'm going to do something if I can."

It was just a bit of good-natured ribbing between two guys who have had as much to do with Atlanta's success as anyone else in the locker room. Mughelli and Turner will look back on their careers one day and know all the miles they ran on the football field in red and black amounted to a lot of wins for the home team.

With 166 yards on the ground, it was another good day's work for the running tandem. If it were up to them, they'd run the ball on every snap.

"This is what we do," Mughelli said. "This is what we enjoy doing. We practice running the ball hard. We practice moving guys off the line and scoring."

As Turner got dressed quietly next door, awaiting his turn with the media, Mughelli took one last friendly shot at his running mate, with a veiled compliment as well, all done with a laugh that is pure Mughelli.

"Michael doesn't look like the fastest guy, but if you get him rolling and moving he can really make some things happen," he said.

In a lot of ways the same could be said for Mughelli. Both have defied some odds while in Atlanta and made more than a few good things happen.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content