Before Emmitt Smith came along, whenever Cowboy fans talked about the greatest running back they ever had, only one name came to mind, Tony Dorsett. He was a superstar in every sense of the word. Even before embarking on his Hall of Fame NFL career, he was already a celebrity after being named All-American four straight years while playing for the University of Pittsburgh. His success in college led to his unanimous selection for the Heisman Trophy in 1976.
In 1977, the Dallas Cowboys traded up and made Tony Dorsett the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft. As a rookie, he rushed for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns and added 273 yards and a touchdown on 29 receptions. Just as he had done in college, he took the league by storm in his first year and was the unanimous selection for that years NFL Rookie Of The Year Award. It was the beginning of a remarkable career where he rushed 1,000 or more yards in eight of his first nine seasons, and the only miss was a strike-shortened season where we led the NFC in rushing. He became the first player ever to gain more than 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons. The Cowboys won an amazing 42 of the 46 games in which Tony Dorsett rushed for 100 yards.
In 1981, he had his best year when he rushed for 1,646 yards and reeled in another 325 yards on 32 catches. In his career, Dorsett rushed for 12,739 yards and scored 91 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-NFC pick, who was All-Pro in 1981 and a veteran of four Pro Bowls. He played in five NFC championship games and Super Bowls XII and XIII. Tony Dorsett was elected to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 and was enshrined in the Texas Stadium Ring of Honor the same year.
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.