Thursday, August 8, 1996
Nothing coming easy to Tony Dorsett's son
By MICHAEL A. LUTZ
SAN ANTONIO - Houston Oilers rookie Anthony Dorsett doesn't
want any special treatment for being the son of Hall of Fame running
back Tony Dorsett, and he's gotten his wish.
In fact, Dorsett is finding out quickly that having a famous father
can make things more difficult.
"He told me that I'd come here and it would be more competitive
for me than other people because a lot of players would think
everything's been sugarcoated for me, so they'll try a little
harder against me," the younger Dorsett said. "I have
to show them there's nothing sweet about me."
Dorsett, a sixth-round pick, has never backed away from the challenge
of his father's shadow. The perfect example was choosing to go
to his father's alma mater, Pitt. The only difference is that
Anthony plays defensive back, not running back.
"People asked me about going to Pitt," he said. "I
don't think it will be easy anywhere I go. I'll hear the music
and respond to it. It's something I'll have to live with. The
questions don't bother me."
Dorsett's parents divorced when he was young, giving the younger
Dorsett two perspectives. He spent his final two high school years
living in Dallas with his father and playing football at Richardson
"I lived with my mom and then I'd go with my dad," Dorsett
said. "You get to see how people are treated outside the
limelight. When you're with a person like Tony Dorsett, you can
go anywhere, get anything. But when you're an average person and
someone doesn't know you, you're treated like that.
"Seeing both sides, that molded me to realize that just because
a person has status he shouldn't be looked on as untouchable."
Dorsett showed some of his pop's speed in Saturday's season opening
exhibition game against the New York Jets with a 99-yard kickoff
But it will take more than his name to get Dorsett a job with
"It showed speed and he had vision to see a hole and go for
it," Oilers coach Jeff Fisher said. "Part of the process
of becoming a kick returner is learning to hold onto the ball
when he takes a real hard hit. That's what we have to find out."
As a defensive back for Pitt, Dorsett finished his college career
with 80 tackles, 14 passes defensed and three interceptions. He
saw some playing time at wide receiver, and also lettered twice
If Dorsett continues to emerge as a kick returner, Fisher could
use Dorsett and Mel Gray as a duo on returns.
"I wouldn't mind having them kick away from Dorsett with
Mel Gray back there," Fisher said.
Dorsett says he's never challenged his dad to a foot race.
"I don't want to beat my dad," he laughed. "He
says we'll have a dash for cash, but I'd feel bad. I might hurt
his feelings. I guess eventually we'll have to do it because everyone
wants to see it."
Dorsett is confident of his own abilities, but that doesn't mean
a lack of respect for his father's accomplishments.
"I don't look at it as following in dad's footsteps, it's
just living out a dream of mine, to play in the NFL," Dorsett
said. "Sometimes I sit back and see what all he did and I'm
amazed. But seeing him every day and living with him, it really
didn't hit me how good he really was."
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