Early years and college career
David Fulcher was born September 28, 1964 in Los Angeles California. He attended John C. Fremont Senior High School where he was a stand out wide receiver. He would go on to accept a scholarship to Arizona State University. “I’ve been a wide receiver my whole life,” Fulcher said. “Arizona State was the only school who was offering me as a receiver.”
Once Fulcher was moved to the defensive back role he took it out on his wide out teammates. “They would say to slow down and one things led to another, but it was the best move for me, allowing me to play eight years in the league,” Fulcher explained.
Fulcher would go on to record 12 interceptions during his time at Arizona State. He also earned the nickname “Fo Rock” when he made a huge hit on a player from New Mexico. The Arizona State coaches and players were already calling Fulcher “Fo” due to some mispronouncing his last name. When the New Mexico player got up he stated, “I felt like I just ran into a rock,” and so the Fo Rock name was created.
Fulcher was selected by the Bengals in the third round of the NFL Draft in 1986. Many analysts believed Fulcher would be a linebacker in the league due to his size. That was until coach Dick LeBeau came into the picture. LeBeau, looking to utilize Fulcher’s size and speed created the zone blitz, along with many other principles he would go on to use in his time with Pittsburgh.
In 1988, Fulcher recorded five interceptions and one touchdown and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. The Bengals finished the season with a 12-4 record and went on to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII, where they ended up losing narrowly to the 49ers 20-16 after quarterback Joe Montana threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 34 seconds left. In the game, Fulcher recorded several key tackles, a sack and forced a fumble that the Bengals recovered. Fulcher later said this game was his most memorable NFL moment. “It was the time they called my name during the introductions at the Super Bowl,” he said. “Walking out of the tunnel at Joe Robbie Stadium, making sure I did not trip on the turf and fall down.”
Fulcher would make the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons from 1988 through 1990. After his time with the Bengals he would sign with the Raiders as a free agent in 1993, but due to injuries he only played three games and retired after the season. In his eight NFL seasons, Fulcher recorded 10 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, 12 fumble-return yards, 31 interceptions, 246 interception return yards and two touchdowns. His 31 interceptions are the third most in Bengals history behind Ken Riley and Louis Breeden.
Fulcher was named sixth on a list of “All-Time Cincinnati Bengals” in 2017. “I was actually behind Jim Breech and just thought, man I’m behind a kicker?” Fulcher said, “But to be top 10 is a really big honor.”
Life beyond football
Fulcher would go on to have a coaching career after his playing career was over. “I was starting a program at Cincinnati Christian High School, and we maybe had 20 guys,” he explained, “and with such few players we still managed to only be one win away from the playoffs back to back years.” This is no small accomplishment in the Cincinnati area, which is a hot bed for high school football talent.
Fulcher would also go on to become the first coach for Cincinnati Christian University in 2016. The Eagles would go on to a 0–22 record in his tenure as head coach. The program did send a player to a professional European team, running back Jordan Frost.
Fulcher and his wife Judy have run a non-profit organization MANA (Mentoring Against Negative Actions) for 15-years. Fulcher, whose dad was a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, works to help those in jail gain possibilities otherwise not possible. This all began when one of his players was arrested and had to serve jail time. Fulcher took that chance to get the players homework, go into the jail with him and stay while he completed his homework.
“I think that everyone who has a negative past, wants to leave it in the past,” He explained, “if they go to abc company and they turn them down, they go right back to their past.”
The program is part of the intensive outpatient program in the jail and funded by a $40,000 Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison, or T-CAP, grant from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Fulcher touches on all aspects of life. How to find a job, get a Social Security card, driver’s license or state ID and how to be a law-abiding citizen.
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