Draw up Bill Parcells' picture of a perfect tight end: big, strong, a good receiver and by all means, a physical blocker. In other words: Mark Bavaro.
Or maybe Anthony Fasano.
Bavaro is one of Parcells' favorite players from the Dallas coach's Super Bowl years at the helm of the New York Giants. While linebacker
Lawrence Taylor and quarterback Phil Simms deservedly garnered many of the headlines during the Giants' glory years, Parcells frequently lauded Bavaro as a vital cog in the New York offense.
The similarities between Bavaro and Fasano are striking: both hail from New Jersey. Both are big. Both are better receivers than they
get credit for. Both went to Notre Dame.
Fasano said he was a junior at Notre Dame when he first heard the comparison.
"I haven't had a chance to really study him," Fasano said of Bavaro, "but I certainly know about him, and I love to have my name even
mentioned in the same sentence as his. He was a great player."
Bavaro is one of many players who have returned to their alma maters to visit with the next wave of young players. During one such visit,
he met Fasano.
"I met him a couple of times," Fasano said, "I look forward to maintaining that relationship and learning from him."
Fasano said that the first time the two met, the conversation didn't revolve solely around blocking technique and the specifics of running
"He told me 'you're just as ugly as me, and I assume you're not meeting all the girls like I did,' " Fasano said with a laugh. "I told him that wasn't true, of course."
At Friday's press conference, Parcells said that Fasano was a perfect complement to Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten in the two-tight end sets that the Cowboys already use, but plan to emphasize in 2006.
"I love the two-tight end offense -- I think it's a great idea," Fasano said. "I'm excited that they brought me in to be a part of it. I just want to come in, learn from Jason Witten and earn my role in the offense.
"The two-tight end offense creates mismatches -- that's the biggest thing. It gives you a lot of versatility in what you can do."
Fasano said that versatility also is the strength of his own game.
"I try to be an all-around tight end," he said. "I'll block and I can catch, and I want to get better at both. Jason (Witten) is a Pro Bowl
player, and I look forward to learning from him."
Fasano: Eager to Learn
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