J. D. Runnels (born June 19, 1984) is a former American football fullback. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oklahoma.
Runnels has also been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Florida Tuskers.
Runnels attended Carl Albert High School in Midwest City where he played football, mostly at running back, but he also played wide receiver, tight end and defensive end. He helped lead Carl Albert to three Oklahoma state championships in class 5A. He was a consensus all state player and set school records for career receiving yards (1,391), career catches (67) and career receiving touchdowns (17). Runnels graduated from Carl Albert in 2002.
Runnels attended the University of Oklahoma. In 53 games at Oklahoma, Runnels started 18 times. He carried twice for five yards and caught 51 passes for 450 yards (8.8 avg) and five touchdowns. In his agility tests he ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash, bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times, had a 35-inch vertical jump, a 10'0" broad jump, ran a 4.22 in the 20 yard shuttle, and a 7.0 in the 3 cone drill.
He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He spent most of his rookie season on the bench, but saw playtime towards the end of the season, when starting fullback Jason McKie injured his ankle. Although Runnels was the Bears' second fullback on the depth chart, the Bears often used the more experienced third-string tight end, Gabe Reid instead. The Bears waived/injured Runnels on June 11, 2007 and he spent the season on injured reserve. He was waived by the team on July 24, 2008.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
On August 16, 2008, Runnels signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team released offensive tackle Luke Petitgout. He was released by the team four days later.
Runnels was signed to the practice squad of the Cincinnati Bengals on October 29, 2008. He was released on November 11 when the team re-signed cornerback Geoffrey Pope.
Runnels was re-signed to a future contract on December 29, 2008. He was waived on August 10, 2009. His release was profiled on the season premiere of the HBO series Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals.