Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series
Twelve players have worn #31, including two running backs, seven defensive backs, a kicker, and two wide receivers.
Gary Allen, RB, Hawaii, 1983-84
Statistics: Allen averaged 9.5 yards per punt return and 20.6 yards per kickoff return for the Cowboys.
Longevity: Allen lasted less than two full seasons with the Cowboys.
Intangibles: Allen was the team’s primary punt and kick returner in 1984. The team unsuccessfully tried to convert him to receiver in 1985, though, and he never played after that.
Benny Barnes, DB, Stanford, 1972-82
Statistics: Barnes recorded 11 career interceptions.
Longevity: Barnes played 11 seasons in Dallas, including six as a full-time starter.
Intangibles: Barnes was the special teams captain before moving into the starting role at cornerback in 1976. He started Super Bowls XII and XIII and was involved in the infamous pass interference call by Fred Swearingen during SB XIII. Barnes finished his career as a strong safety.
Otto Brown, DB, Prairie View, 1969
Statistics: Brown had one interception as a member of the Cowboys.
Longevity: Brown lasted one season in Dallas.
Intangibles: He started a few games at cornerback in 1969 but was traded upon the arrival of Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters in 1970.
Fred Cone, K, Clemson, 1960
Statistics: Cone made 6 of 13 field goals for the Cowboys.
Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.
Intangibles: Cone came out of retirement to play for the Cowboys during their inaugural year, but he retired once again following that season.
Bill Hill, CB, Rutgers, 1987
Statistics: Hill did not record any stats. He started one of the replacement games in 1987.
Accolades: Replacement player.
Longevity: Replacement player.
Intangibles: Not much to remember.
Brock Marion, S, Nevada-Reno, 1993-97
Statistics: Marion recorded eight interceptions with the Cowboys.
Accolades: None with Dallas.
Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas before joining Miami.
Intangibles: Marion was a solid free safety who started Super Bowl XXX. He later became a Pro Bowler with the Dolphins.
Amos Marsh, RB, Oregon State, 1961-64
Statistics: Marsh rushed for 2065 yards and 14 touchdowns with the Cowboys.
Longevity: He played four seasons with the Cowboys.
Intangibles: His best season with the club was 1962, when he gained 802 yards and had a 5.6 average. During that season, he had a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He finished his career with Detroit.
Billy Owens, DB, Pittsburgh, 1988
Statistics: Owens recorded one sack with the Cowboys.
Longevity: He lasted one season in Dallas.
Intangibles: He played in the nickel package during the dreadful 1988 season. Most probably don’t remember him.
Gloster Richardson, WR, Jackson State, 1971
Statistics: Richardson caught eight passes for 170 yards with the Cowboys.
Longevity: He lasted one year in Dallas.
Intangibles:Richardson arrived in 1971 to replace Dennis Homan, but he left for Cleveland the following year.
Sim Stokes, WR, Northern Arizona, 1967
Statistics: Stokes averaged 23.0 yards per kickoff return.
Longevity: He played in three games in 1967.
Intangibles: Memorable name, but not much else. However, he does serve an the answer of this trivia question: To whom did Don Meredith throw a long incomplete pass on the final play of the Ice Bowl? (question courtesy of The Dallas Cowboys Encyclopedia)
George Teague, S, Alabama, 1996, 1998-01
Statistics: Teague recorded seven interceptions with the Cowboys.
Accolades: None with Dallas.
Longevity: He played in a total of five seasons with Dallas, first in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2001.
Intangibles: Other than a very good game in the playoffs vs. Minnesota in 1996, he is known for…
Roy Williams, S, Oklahoma, 2002-
Statistics: Williams has recorded 19 interception in his career. His 414 tackles ranks seventh in team history.
Accolades: Five Pro Bowl appearances, and he was named All-Pro once.
Longevity: Assuming he remains, 2008 will be his seventh season.
Intangibles: He has changed numbers and will wear #38 in 2008. I’m leaving him on the list for #31 thanks to his accolades while wearing that number.
Here are the results of the poll for this number:
- Roy Williams (63%, 128 Votes)
- Benny Barnes (16%, 32 Votes)
- George Teague (12%, 25 Votes)
- Brock Marion (5%, 11 Votes)
- Sim Stokes (1%, 3 Votes)
- Amos Marsh (0%, 1 Votes)
- Bill Hill (0%, 1 Votes)
- Gary Allen (0%, 1 Votes)
- Billy Owens (0%, 0 Votes)
- Gloster Richardson (0%, 0 Votes)
- Fred Cone (0%, 0 Votes)
- Otto Brown (3%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 202
If you still want to vote, please make a comment below.
My Vote: Williams
Williams may be getting worse in coverage, and frankly he deserves the criticism he’s received lately. But he has achieved more than anyone else on this list and, when it’s all said and done, he should be remembered as a great player for this franchise.
Teague will always be remembered as “Defender of the Star,” but he just wasn’t quite as good as Roy. Marion was also a good player but was better as a Dolphin than as a Cowboy.