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Anthony Fasano

Sport: Football

Born: April 20, 1984

Town: Verona

Anthony Joseph Fasano was born April 20, 1984 in Glen Ridge and grew up in Verona. A big, physical boy with a powerful arm—and three competitive siblings to push him—he starred in youth sports, particularly as a baseball pitcher. As a freshman at Verona High in the spring of 1998, Anthony took the mound for the first time and pitched a seven-inning one-hitter. By then he was already a star defensive end and tight end on the Hillbillies football team and a starting forward on the basketball team. Anthony also competed for Verona’s track team in the javelin, shot put and 200 meters. As a senior in 2001, Anthony caught 78 passes and scored 23 touchdowns, and led his school to the state football title. In the final against he threw the winning PAT pass. Antony finished his prep career as captain of the basketball and track teams. He was recognized as All-State at one time or another in four different sports.

Anthony was 6’4” and weighed over 220 pounds as a senior. He accepted a scholarship from Notre Dame and began his ascent up the depth charts as a tight end. In 2002, Gary Godsey was the starter and Anthony did not see any game action. In 2003, he caught 18 passes for a run-first offense featuring Julius Jones. In 2004, Anthony caught 27 passes and four touchdowns. That season he also won a team passing contest when he threw a perfect spiral 77 yards.

The Fighting Irish were 11–13 in Anthony’s sophomore and junior seasons, costing coach Tyrone Willingham his job. New coach Charlie Weis installed a passing offense that utilized the talents of senior Brady Quinn and the pass-catching abilities of running back Darius Walker, wideouts Maurice Stovall and Jeff Samardzija, and Anthony, who caught 47 passes and kept countless drives alive. Between his receiving skills and run blocking, Anthony distinguished himself as a potential impact NFL tight end. He was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award. Notre Dame beat Michigan, Purdue and Pitt and went 9–3 to finish ranked #9. Two of the losses came against #1 USC and #4 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys selected Anthony in the second round of the 2006 draft. He backed up Jason Witten as a rookie and usually came into games on running plays. His college teammate, Julius Jones, ran for over 1,000 yards. Anthony filled the same role in 2007. In 2008, the Dolphins traded a draft pick to acquire Anthony on the advice of Bill Parcells, who had originally drafted him in Dallas. Parcells envisioned Anthony as a Mark Bavaro-type player and in 2009 he began racking up big catches. He had 34 receptions and scored 7 TDs for Miami, which finished 11–5 and unseated the Patriots atop the AFC East. The Dolphins lost in the playoffs to the Ravens.

Anthony topped 30 receptions for the Dolphins again from 2009 to 2011, and had a career-best 41 in 2012. He signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in 2013 and missed 7 games due to an assortment of injuries. In 2014, Anthony began the year as Kansas City’s starter but lost his job to budding star Travis Kelce. The Chiefs released Anthony and he caught on with the Titans in 2015. Among his 26 receptions was an overtime game-winner against the Saints. Anthony played one more season for the Titans and finished his career back in Miami in 2017. He retired with 299 receptions for 3,278 yards and 36 touchdowns.

 

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