Legends of the Star – Larry Brown

 

Nobody expected Larry Brown to make the team when he was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the 12th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. The smallish cornerback hailed from Texas Christian University and his numbers while in college were good, but not spectacular.

However, Larry Brown will always be remembered for his big game during Super Bowl XXX. Trailing 13-7 in the third quarter, Brown intercepted Steelers quarterback, Neil O’Donnell at the Cowboys’ 38-yard line and returned it all the way down to Pittsburgh’s 18. It was his second interception and it led to a touchdown run by Emmitt Smith.

Larry Brown’s two interceptions led to 14 second-half points and helped lift the Cowboys to their third Super Bowl victory in the last four seasons and their record-tying fifth title overall. For his efforts, he was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXX and became the first cornerback ever to win the award.

Brown became a free agent immediately after his MVP performance and signed with the Oakland Raiders, but returned to Dallas for the 1998 season, which would be his last. He retired with 14 career interceptions, 2 touchdowns, 2 fumble recoveries and was named to 2 Prow Bowls.

Larry Brown is now the cohost of “Countdown to Kickoff” on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket, the flagship station of the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network. 

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. 

Legends of the Star – Daryl Johnston

 

Daryl Johnston gained national attention while playing for Syracuse University. He rushed for 1,830 yards and caught 46 passes during his collegiate career and once gained 138 yards rushing, the most by a Syracuse running back since Larry Csonka rushed for 154 yards in 1967. He was an All-American and All-East pick in 1988.

Johnston was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1989 NFL Draft.

On the day he arrived for his first mini camp, he was nicknamed "Moose" by former teammate Babe Laufenberg. Babe remarked, who’s that big ol’ moose over there during his first team meeting and the name stuck.

Johnston started out as a reserve, but became a full-time starter in 1991 and was a key member of the Cowboys’ three Super Bowl winning teams in 1993, 1994 and 1996. He played 12 seasons for the Cowboys before retiring in 2000. He was a fierce ball carrier but was best known for being the lead blocker for all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith.

He was also a true iron man, having never missed a game in his NFL career, playing in 143 straight games. Every time Johnston touched the ball, "Moose" chants can be heard resonating at Texas Stadium.

He finished his career catching 294 passes for 2,227 yards and 14 touchdowns, as well as 232 rushes for 753 yards and eight touchdowns. He had a career-high, 50 receptions in 1993.
 

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. 

Legends of the Star – Jay Novacek

Jay Novacek first made a name for himself playing tight end for the University of Wyoming. He was selected to the All-American football team in 1984 after setting an NCAA record for receiving yards per receptions by a tight end. He had a team record 83 career receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns during his college career. Novacek also competed in track and field and earned All-American in the decathlon and pole vault.
 
He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, and but later joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1990. Some thought he was hired gun and for a while the name stuck. He was known for his hard-nosed style of play and his athleticism. He was a hard hitter and a great blocker, but it was his pass catching ability that fans will remember most.
 
He was one of the best tight ends ever to wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform, and was one of the key players on a Cowboys team that went on to win three Super Bowls in 1992, 1993 and 1995. In those three games alone, he posted a combined total of 17 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
 
Jay Novacek’s remarkable pass catching and route running abilities gave him a total of 422 receptions for 4,620 yards and 30 touchdowns during his NFL career. He was selected to five pro bowls. Although he may not have had a long career with the Cowboys, he made each of his 6 seasons count, and was one of the best tight ends in the league throughout his Cowboys career.

 
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. 

Legends of the Star – Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker started his football career while playing for the University of Georgia. In his freshman year, he set an NCAA rushing record and helped his team win the national title. He earned All-American honors three consecutive years, set 10 NCAA records, 15 Southeast Conference records, 30 Georgia all-time records, and capped a sensational college career by earning the 1982 Heisman Trophy in his third and final year.

In 1983, Walker turned professional and joined the New Jersey Generals of the now defunct United States Football League. Herschel was absolutely dominating and was considered by many to be the best and most electrifying player in football. He won the leagues Most Valuable Player award and set the all-time single season pro football rushing record with 2411 yards.

In 1986, Herschel Walker joined the Dallas Cowboys, and in his first season with the team he led the NFL in rushing and scored 14 touchdowns. His best year came in 1988 when Herschel rushed for 1,514 yards. He earned Pro Bowl honors with the Cowboys in 1987 and 1988. During his years with the Cowboys he was their most talented and most popular player, but the team was not winning.

In the middle of the1989 season, the Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that would change the face of the Cowboys for years to come. Besides receiving 5 players, the Cowboys also received a total of six draft picks, two of which were used to draft Emmit Smith and Darren Woodson. Jimmy Johnson used the other draft picks to make trades with other teams around the NFL which led to drafting Russell Maryland with the first overall draft pick in 1991. This trade has long been considered one of the most lopsided deals in NFL history.

After continuing his career as one of the premier running backs in the league, Herschel would later return to Dallas in 1996 and retired as a Cowboy in 1997.

Walker was one of the most productive players in the history of football and even if you discount his 3 seasons with the USFL, he still had 82 career touchdowns, 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards. He is the only player to have 10,000+ yards gained on offense and 5,000+ yards on kickoff returns.

Although his career as Cowboy was not that long, during his years with the team he was the lone bright spot despite the fact that the team never made the play-offs. His contribution to the team in terms of trade value transformed the team into the most powerful team in the NFL for an entire decade. 

Walker was one of the top running backs in the pros, gaining more yards than anyone in professional football history, counting his seasons in both the NFL and USFL. He finished his professional career with a total of 8,225 yards and 61 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 512 passes for 4,859 yards and 21 scores.

 
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. 

Legends of the Star – Bill Bates

Bill Bates started his career while playing as a safety for the University of Tennessee. While he was there he was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference his junior and senior seasons, and developed a reputation as the team’s hardest hitter and quickest tackler.
 
Bill Bates was much smaller than other safeties in the league and for that reason he was not drafted in the NFL Draft. However, the Cowboys were impressed with his sheer determination and heart that he displayed in college and decided to sign him as an undrafted player in 1983. Bill immediately became a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was due to his amazing seaon as a fierce special teams player that the NFL changed the rules and added a spot on the Pro-Bowl team for special teams coverage player. In 1984, he became the first NFL player to be honored.
 
Bill was an inspirational leader both on and off the field, and in 1990 Head Coach Jimmy Johnson named him the Cowboy’s Special Team’s captain. He held that position for the duration of his career with Dallas Cowboys, a career that spanned from 1983-1996.
 
Bill was a big part of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl Champions team, and has been a long time favorite of Cowboys fans. While playing linebacker, his last minute interception at Chicago’s Soldier Field preserved Dallas’ 17 – 13 win in the team’s triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence, and will surely go down as one of the big plays in the rebuilding of the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Bill was selected to the All-Madden Team for twelve years in a row, and was named the winner of the Bob Lilly Award four years in a row, from 1990 – 1994. This award is selected by a vote of the fans and annually goes to the Cowboy player who displays leadership and character on and off the field. He is a true Legend of the Star.
 
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. 

Legends of the Star – Don Perkins

Don Perkins attended the University of New Mexico and played running back and kick returner. He won many awards during his college career and in 1958 he led the nation in kickoff returns.
 
Although being initially drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 1960 NFL Draft, he was awarded to the Dallas Cowboys who had signed him to a contract before the draft. The Colts were awarded a compensation pick instead.
 
Don immediately became the Cowboys starting running back and their first legitimate star. Along with his quarterback Don Meredith, they became the face of the Dallas Cowboys. He became the first Dallas Cowboy to rush for 100 yards in a game when he racked up 108 yards against the Minnesota Vikings on September 24th. Don was named the NFL rookie of the Year in 1961 with 815 yards rushing. He made his first Pro Bowl the following season after another big season in which he rushed for 945 yards. During his 8 seasons with the Cowboys, Don was named to the Pro Bowl 6 times and was the Cowboys career leading rusher with over 6,000 yards when he retired.
 
When all was said and done, he rushed for 6,217 yards on 1500 carries and 42 touchdowns. He also caught 146 passes for 1,310 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is currently third all time in career rushing yards for the Cowboys, behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.
 
In 1976, he was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium.
 
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. 

Legends of the Star – Lee Roy Jordan

 Lee Roy Jordan began his amazing football career playing linebacker for the University of Alabama from 1960-1962. While he was there he led his team to winning seasons each year, including a perfect season that culminated in a National Championship in his sophomore year. During his senior year, he was a first team All-American and had his most memorable game in the Orange Bowl when he made 30 tackles in one game against the University of Oklahoma. He is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
 
In 1963, he was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the NFL Draft and was the sixth overall pick. He became one of the key members of the Cowboys’ famed "Doomsday Defense." He was an excellent defender against the run and the pass, and had great instincts that made him one of the best linebackers of his era. He also had a great nose for the ball and is currently second all-time in fumble recoveries for the Dallas Cowboys.
 
He played 14 seasons for the Cowboys and during that time, Jordan became a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler while playing in three Super Bowls and five NFC Championship games.
 
Jordan also holds the Cowboys record for career solo tackles with 743 and is second in career assisted tackles with 493. His combined tackles of 1,236 is still a franchise best! His leadership and competitiveness was legendary and in 1989 he became the seventh member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
 
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. 

Legends of the Star – Ed “Too Tall” Jones

Standing six-feet, nine-inches tall, defensive lineman Ed "Too Tall" Jones was very deserving of his nickname. However, it was his skills as a football player that Cowboys fans will remember most. In high school he played basketball and received 52 college scholarships, but he decided instead to play football for Tennessee State. It was a decision he would never regret as he led Tennessee to an almost perfect record during his 3 years with them, losing only one game in those 3 seasons.
 
His performance at Tennessee State caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys’ recruiting staff, and in 1974 Jones became the number one pick in the NFL draft. Some of the experts said the Cowboys wasted their number one overall pick on him because he was too tall to play football, and the name stuck.
 
"Too Tall" Jones won acclaim for his role in the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line-up during the 1970s and 1980s, playing for a franchise record 15 years. During his first five years with Dallas, the Cowboys played in the Super Bowl three times, following the 1975, 1977, and 1978 seasons. He was a tenacious defender with a knack for going after the opposing quarterback causing them to rush their throws and upsetting their offense. Along the way he piled on agreat deal of sacks. He reached his record high in 1985, sacking the opposition’s quarterback 13 times.
 
Jones shocked his coaches and teammates at the end of 1979 when he announced he would not be returning to Dallas the following season to pursue a career in boxing. He did exactly that and after one year he retired undefeated, and re-signed with the Cowboys and played with them until his retirement in 1989.
 
He was named All Pro in 1981 and 1982, played in the Pro Bowl three times, and was named Most Valuable Player in 1982.
 
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. 

Legends of the Star – Chuck Howley

  

Chuck Howley was originally drafted out of West Virginia University by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the NFL Draft in 1958, but after a seaon ending injury in 1959 he was forced to announce his retirement. However, in 1961 Chuck Howley decided to make a comeback, and the Dallas Cowboys traded draft picks to the Chicago Bears for his rights, and thus began his remarkable career as one fo the best defensive players in team history.

Chuck Howley had a punishing style of play and was known for his ability to impact a game with his deceptive speed and blistering tackles. He was one of the best outside linebackers in the league and certainly one of the best ever to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

He played 14 seasons for the Cowboys tying him for the second longest tenure in franchise history, and was selected to six Pro Bowls during that span. Howley helped lead the team to five Eastern Conference Titles, two NFL Championship games and two Super Bowls. He holds the distinction of being the first defensive player ever to win a Super Bowl MVP, as well as being the first player from a losing team ever to named MVP in Super Bowl V.

 In 1976, Chuck Howley was the fourth player to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium.
 

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. 

Legends of the Star – Crazy Ray Jones

 

This weeks Legend Of The Star is dedicated to someone who never played a down for the Dallas Cowboys, but was on hand for more Cowboys games than even Tom Landry, Emmitt Smith, and yes, Jerry Jones. Of course I am referring to Crazy Ray, who passed away Saturday morning after a prolonged battle with heart ailments and diabetes.

His passionate affection for the Cowboys made him a legend in his own right and gave a new meaning to the word fan. His passing will be felt by everyone in the Cowboys family and that includes players, coaches, and fans alike.

For over 40 years, Crazy Ray touched the lives of thousands of Cowboys fans, and seeing him decked out in his western attire with six-shooters blazing will be missed by all. His passion for the team made him a national celebrity who made numerous talk show and radio show appearances, which revealed a man whose passion for life was just as important to him as his passion for the game.

His overflowing enthusiasm was a model not just for fans of the Cowboys, but for people everywhere in all walks of life. There was a lesson for all fans, in the way Crazy Ray lived his life. And while football players are so willing to admit that they are not role models these days, Crazy Ray was indeed a role model for us all.

So Starstruck gives a huge Texas-sized farewell to a true Legend of the Star who will be missed by us all. He is now among the stars in heaven, and if I know Crazy Ray, those stars are all silver and blue.

 

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. 

Legends of the Star – Randy White

 

 

This weeks "Legend of the Star" is the great defensive tackle, Randy White. Randy hailed from the University of Maryland where he was All-American and won many awards including the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award, and the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. His heroics and gamesmanship landed him in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

After a successful college career, the Cowboys drafted Randy White with their first round pick in 1975, he was the second player selected overall. For the first two years he played middle linebacker for the Cowboys, but it wasn’t until they switched him to the right defensive tackle position, that Randy White emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. For 14 spectacular seasons Randy dominated the league as evidenced by his string of nine consecutive Pro Bowl selections. What was also amazing during that stretch was that he missed only 1 game in 14 years spanning a total of 209 games. In 1978 he had his best season and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year. He also led the Cowboys to victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII, which earned him the Super Bowl MVP.

Charlie Waters, the Cowboys safety, nicknamed Randy the "Man-ster" because he said he was half-man and half-monster. He was among the most gifted athletes ever to wear a Cowboys uniform and he used his quickness, balance, and ability to excel like nobody else did at his position. When Randy White’s stellar career was finally over, he set team records with 1,104 tackles, 701 solo tackles, and 111 sacks.

He was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, and is ranked number 51 on the Sporting News’ 100 Greatest Football Players.

 

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. 

Legends of the Star – Rayfield Wright

 

 

Many people never thought Rayfield Wright had any chance of making it in the NFL. For Rayfield, this was nothing new. He has been defying the odds ever since he was a child growing up in poverty in the deep south.

After lettering in basketball in high school, he went to Fort Valley State University where he was named All-American. In 1967, he was drafted by the Cowboys in the 7th round and his prospects of making the team were slim at best. However, he forced his way onto the team through his hard work and sheer determination, and for the first three years of his career, he was used in a variety of roles that included tight end, defensive lineman, and offensive tackle.

In 1969 he got his big break when he replaced an injured Ralph Neely at offensive tackle. He would never look back. For the next 11 seasons Rayfield Wright started at right tackle and became one of the best players at his position ever to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl for six straight seasons, but Cowboys fans best remember Rayfield for helping to lead the team to five Super Bowls and winning two of them. While he was on the team the Cowboys led the league in offense five times. He was the co-captain of the Cowboys for seven years and helped the team win ten division titles and six conference titles.

In 2004, Rayfield Wright was inducted in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, and in 2006, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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.