Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #40

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #40

Six players have worn #40, including three defensive backs, two running backs, and a receiver.

Bill Bates

Bill Bates, S, Tennessee, 1983-97

Statistics: Bates recorded 667 tackles with the Cowboys, as well as 14 interceptions.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl once.

Longevity: Bates played 15 seasons in the NFL, all with Dallas.

Intangibles: Bates was nothing short of a legend with the Cowboys, excelling beyond his talent level. He was the first special teams player to be named to the Pro Bowl for his work there, as opposed to defense. He later became a starter and remained a key contributor through the 1990s. The “intangibles” category of this survey was designed with Bates in mind.

Bobby Joe Conrad, WR, Texas A&M, 1969

Statistics: Conrad caught four passes for 74 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas, though he ranked seventh all time in receptions when he joined the Cowboys in 1969.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Conrad enjoyed a long career with the Cardinals but saw little action with the Cowboys.

Jim Harris, S, Oklahoma, 1961

Statistics: Harris recorded two interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Harris was the subject of a court battle after the Rams had apparently traded his rights to the Cowboys in 1960, but Harris signed with the Dallas Texans. A court later held in favor of the Cowboys, and he played one season with the team.

Eric Hurt, CB, Cal. State San Jose, 1980

Statistics: Hurt averaged 17.4 yards per return with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season with Dallas.

Intangibles: He suffered through a series of injuries in his only season in the NFL.

Jim Stiger, RB, Washington, 1963-65

Statistics: Stiger rushed for 470 yards and scored two touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Stiger was a part time starter in the early 1960s before being traded to the Rams in 1965.

Les Strayhorn, RB, East Carolina, 1973-74

Statistics: Strayhorn rushed for 128 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A 17th-round pick in 1973, Strayhorn saw limited action and retired after two seasons.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #40

  • Bill Bates (99%, 201 Votes)
  • Bobby Joe Conrad (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Les Strayhorn (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Jim Harris (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Eric Hurt (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jim Stiger (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 203

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My Vote: Bates

There is simply no doubt about this one. Anyone who knows anything about the Dallas Cowboys knows the story of Bill Bates. For the few who don’t, here are a couple of very good clips that feature him:

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Article by Matt Cordon

Blogging impatiently about the Cowboys since 2006. Being a fan since 1977 hasn't required quite as much patience.



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