Chargers Editorial: Natrone Means: A Look Back At the Man Who Gave Defenses the Business

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Mandatory Credit: Sporting News
Mandatory Credit: Sporting News

The San Diego Chargers have certainly had their fair share of talented running back throughout franchise history.

Take a stroll down memory lane and people will be quick to think of such athletes as Marion Butts, Chuck Muncie and of course, the man who will forever be remembered as LT, Ladainian Tomlinson.

However, one such running back who doesn’t get talked about enough, although he certainly deserves the credit, being he is the only Chargers starting running back to have played in a Super Bowl while dawning the blue and gold helmet, is Natrone Means.

Natrone Means “Business,” as he was often called, spent a total of five seasons, though spread apart with a two-year stint in Jacksonville in between, rushed for 3,885 yards over 59 games. He managed only one 1,000-yard season, but it came during the most successful season in team history. It was 1994, when the Chargers were surging through the regular season to an 11-5 record and a first-round bye.

Means came up huge during that 1995 playoff run. In the divisional game against the Miami Dolphins, and the Chargers trailing 21-8 late in the third quarter, Means narrowed the differential with a 35-yard touchdown run, breaking tackles and carrying defenders on his back while crossing the goal line.

Natrone had another clutch run in the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With San Diego trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter, the Chargers were facing 4th-and-1 at midfield. Quarterback Stan Humphries handed off to Means in an attempt to just get the ball past the first-down marker. Instead, Means barreled through the Steelers defense for 11 yards. His run set up Humphries’ 40-yard pass to Tony Martin for the winning score. San Diego won 17-13 for a trip to their first and only Super Bowl.

Means is still the only Chargers running back to record a touchdown in a Super Bowl. His career did not last long, and he certainly didn’t have the accolades like other all-time greats, but he is still heralded as one of the best running backs in Chargers history.

Natrone Means “Business.” Not convinced? Ask the defenses who had to contain him.

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