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70 Rayfield Wright – Offensive Tackle – 1967-1979

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. Only one other player in NFL history has appeared in more Super Bowls than Wright, and he is one of only 13 players in NFL history to have played in five Super Bowls.

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, the Dallas Cowboys inducted Rayfield Wright into the Ring of Honor, and two years later in 2006, he was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rayfield Wright: An Inspirational Star

Last night as I lay in bed, I was flipping through the channels and something caught my eye. Now I’m not one to watch TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) or any other religious channel, but I stopped because I seen a picture of a football player in Cowboys uniform flash on the screen. I knew who it was from his jesey number and the picture looked familiar. In fact, last year we did a bio on him in our Legends of the Star series. It was Rayfield Wright.

I never knew much about Rayfield. I knew he was a great tackle and was enducted into the hall of fame the same time as Troy Aikman. He played football before I was even born. But as I listened to him tell his story, I gained so much respect for the man. He spoke very well, he seemed very educated but also grateful for the life God had given him.

The host of the show asked Rayfield to tell the story of how he became to be a Dallas Cowboy. He said that he never really wanted to play football. He didn’t play football in high school, he played basketball. He was a tall skinny kid who didn’t look like a football player at all. He went to Fort Valley State College in Georgia on an athletic scholarship for his basketball talent. He played basketball and had to choose one other sport and chose football.

Rayfield was asked to leave college to go to the NBA early, but turned down the offer stating he made a commitment to get his education and that’s what he intended to do. His senior year he was contact by someone from the Dallas Cowboys and told they were looking to draft him. This was a surprise to Rayfield because he considered himself a basketball player not football. He said football training camp was in July and basketball camp was in August. He decided to go to Dallas and see what it was all about, then he never looked back.

He became very close with coach Tom Landry. He respected Landry a great deal and said Landry’s priorities in life were in this order: God, Family, then Football. I don’t think many would think that of one of the best football coaches of all time, but I suppose maybe that’s what made him so successful and such a great leader.

It was a short interview and I’m pretty sure it was a rerun, but I’m glad I stopped on that channel and got the pleasure of getting to know more about Mr. Wright. It’s great to know that someone can start off in this world with nothing, and live his life to the fullest with nothing but love, respect and the power of prayer.

Rayfield Wright’s Athletic Accomplishments

Dallas Cowboys 1st Anniversary Team—1985.
Dallas Cowboys All Decade Team of the 1970s.
Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor—Texas Stadium—Inducted 2004.
Hall of Faith Award—Athletes International Ministries—1977.
Hall of Fame—Griffin, Georgia. Inducted 1974.
Hall of Fame—Fort Valley State College. Inducted 1983.
Hall of Fame—State of Georgia. Inducted 1988.
Heroes of Football—Inducted 2000.
NFL All Super Bowl Team—1990.
NFL Legends Award—1990.
NFL Alumni “Ring of Honor” Dallas Chapter—2003.
Pat Summerall & John Madden’s—Best of the Dallas Cowboys 1995.
Received 12 game balls during his career as an Offensive Lineman.
Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame—Inducted 2002.
Texas Sports Hall of Fame—Inducted 2005.


“Although he was a long shot in the 1967 draft, Rayfield’s superior athletic ability and competitiveness carried him to six straight Pro Bowls and four All-Pro seasons, making him the most honored offensive lineman in Cowboys history. Rayfield was an integral part of all five of our Super Bowl teams. He was always a team player whose solid character contributed to a winning atmosphere. It was an honor to coach Rayfield Wright.” COACH TOM LANDRY in a letter to the State of Georgia Hall of Fame
 

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Rayfield Wright has a website: www.rayfieldwright.com and has also written a book titled "Wright Up Front" about his life which you can purchase from his website.

 

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.