Toby Gerhart following in dad's footsteps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Toby Gerhart is not the first member of his family that was under contract to play professional football in Jacksonville.

A year before the Jacksonville Jaguars running back was born, his father Todd was a member of the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League. Todd Gerhart, however, never played a down in Jacksonville because the league folded before the 1986 began.

Todd Gerhart was a running back at Cal State-Fullerton from 1981-84 and played fullback for the USFL's Denver Gold in 1985, rushing for 279 yards and two touchdowns in 18 games. After the 1985 season the USFL announced it was moving to a fall schedule in 1986. Gold owner Doug Spedding, knowing his team wouldn't be able to compete with the Denver Broncos, worked a merger with the Jacksonville Bulls.

The team was supposed to play in Jacksonville in 1986 but the league folded before the season began so Todd Gerhart -- who played in the Gold's 42-6 road loss to the Bulls on June 23, 1985 -- never played a home game in the city.

When Toby Gerhart told his father he was signing with the Jaguars, Todd Gerhart told his son about the city's most recognizable landmark, the Jacksonville Landing, which was finished in 1987.

"When I was going [to sign with the Jaguars] he told me, 'Oh, I remember the Landing out there,'" Toby Gerhart said. "'Go to dinner out there.'"