New Redskins practice squad offensive tackle Xavier Fulton is a big guy — he lists at 6-5, 301 — with a full beard and a full head of dreads. The first time I saw him yesterday, he was standing in the Redskins locker room in sweats, wearing a Redskins helmet and fidgeting with the chinstrap. “You try to get the fit as best you can right away,” he told me. “And then from there, it’s just, you got to keep sticking your head in there and wiggle it around and hit something with it for a while. But that one seems a little like it fit perfectly right away.”
Once Fulton talks, you immediately notice his voice. When in college at Illinois, a local sportstalk host named him to his Year’s Best Interviews list and noted that Fulton “sounds like a cross between James Earl Jones and Dennis Haysbert,” which is about right.
And that’s how he wound up doing voiceover work for the media department at Illinois. “When they were doing like an overview of the facilities,” Fulton said, “I was explaining all that. I did the awards ceremony for our senior class, I did all that announcing. And there was, like a bicentennial tribute to President Lincoln and I read one of his speeches.”
That would be the Cooper Union Address, delivered by Lincoln in 1860 and widely regard as one of the great orator’s greatest speeches. (Because the embeddable version of the speech autoplays, you can find it after the jump.)
But Fulton isn’t just a dramatic voice. He’s also a fifth round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an athletic offensive tackle ( who saw a promising preseason cut short by an ACL injury and has bounced around practice squads ever since.
“I had, you know, six weeks where I was feeling really good,” Fulton said — he had battled a shoulder injury in college. ” And then I tore the ACL. The hardest part is the mental part, getting over the hump where you’re like-you want to get up to go run, but you can’t because you’re on crutches. That’s the hardest part for me.”
The physical rehab is done. Now, Fulton explained, “it’s tying the mental and physical together. It’s like the strength is there. The strength, flexibility, all that is back, it’s just trusting myself again to take that step full speed, take that, move as fast as I could.”
He won’t see the active roster this year, but Fulton’s an interesting project to keep an eye on as the Redskins move toward 2011. If nothing else, maybe he can do some voiceover work for Redskins.com TV.
(Don’t forget to check out his renditon of Honest Abe after the jump.)
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