He used to be known as the right end, then the closed end (as opposed to the split end). Now he is the tight end and it is the new glamor position in pro football.
Russ Francis of the New England Patriots is the tall, dark, mustachioed Adonis who already has appeared in television bits.
Dave Casper of the Oakland Raiders is a sandy-haired, less-glamorous type, but the darling of the fans of the Super Bowl champions.
Bennie Cunningham of the Pittsburgh Steelers uses his remarkable speed with strength that simply knocks over those midget defensive backs once he has the ball safety tucked away.
Jerome Barkum of the New York Jets is another debonair type, emphasizing speed in his switch from wide receiver, plus the blocking the job requires.
Walter White of the University of Maryland and the Kansas City Chiefs is the big-play specialist.
Riley Odoms of the sizzling Denver Broncos finally got an opportunity to attract attention with the arrival of coach Red Miller.
Dallas, which always seems to be well-fixed at every position, let Jean Fugett get away to the Redskins with his youth, speed and blocking because the Cowboys still had Billy Joe DuPree.
when he was younger, Charlie Sanders of Detroit generally was acclaimed as the best receiver, as Jerry Smith once was with the Redskins. Now, David Hill is coming on fast with the Lions.
Jim Mitchell of Atlanta is said to go unnoticed because of his blocking and, until this season, having played with a losing team.
Jack Pardee has a fine prospect in Greg Latta, whom he brought with him to the Chicago Bears from the Florida Blazers of the World Football League.
The Steelers have three excellent tight ends in Cunningham, Randy Grossman and Larry Brown.
It is significant that the Raiders also keep three, with Warren Bankston and Ted Kwalick behind Casper.
The Patriots have three, with Al Chandler and an especially bright prospect in rookie Don Hasselbeck, who has caught three passes this season all for touchdowns.
The tight and coming of the fore these days is the complete athlete, a blocker and pass-catcher who also can run away from defensive backs.
First, the sophisticated defenses began neutralizing wide receivers with double coverage. The quarterbacks then threw to their backs.
On Sunday, the Patriots put double coverage on running backs Lydell Mitchell and Don McCauley. The Colts intended to do some of that to the Patriot runners, too, but did not stress it so much.
The position that is getting more multiple coverage with each game is tight end.
Because Hasselbeck had scored three touchdowns in the previous two games, the Colts had three defenders chasing him when the Patriots used three tight ends on the same play. Francis then got open to catch a pass, and showed the skill of a running back in scoring a 31-yard touchdown.
There were seven touchdowns scored on Sunday by tight ends, two by Henry Childs of New Orleans of 53 and 29 yards.
Francis scored the clinching touchdown for New England. Casper of the Raiders caught seven passes for 92 yards, including a 19-yarder for a touchdown.
The Jets made such a close game of it before losing, 28-27, to Oakland because they got all their speedy receivers into the lineup at the same time for the first time this season.
Former tight end Richard Caster came off the injured list and he caught three passes for 82 yards; Barkum, a wide receiver switched to tight end, caught four for 94 yards and rookie Wesley Walker of California caught four for 178 yards.
Each caught a touchdown throw, Walker of 87 yards.
The Jets had run the ball 58 times against Atlanta and new coach Walt Michaels had talked quite a bit about a team throwing more than, say, 20 times a game probably would be a losing team.
The Raiders apparently did not think Richard Todd would go over the middle to Caster as he did.
Caster has a 27.3-yard average per catch; wide receiver Walker 20.4, and tight end Barkum 15.8.
Why did the Jets switch from a running game to a passing game? "Because it was there," an organization man said.
And in New York, the wonder is why previous coaches did not do this for Joe Namath.