Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #42

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #42

Thirteen players have worn #42, including seven running backs and six defensive backs.

Darryl Clack, RB, Arizona State, 1986-89

Statistics: Clack averaged 21.7 yards per kickoff return.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Clack played behind Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker and never really evolved beyond a kickoff return specialist. He had a total of 113 rushing yards in four seasons.

Ricky Easmon, DB, Florida, 1985

Statistics: Easmon started one game with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played half of one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Easmon was released during the 1985 season and later played for Tampa Bay.

Troy Hambrick, RB, Savannah State, 2000-03

Statistics: Hambrink rushed for 1896 yards and 8 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Hambrink will best be remembered as a short-lived replacement for Emmitt Smith. He lacked big-play ability, however, and moved on to Arizona after one season as a starter in Dallas.

Anthony Henry, CB, South Florida, 2005-

Statistics: Henry has recorded 11 interceptions and scored two touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He enters his fourth season in Dallas in 2008.

Intangibles: Henry has shown flashes in Dallas since being signed as a free agent in 2005. However, he has also had injury problems that have slowed him down. His six interceptions in 2007 was nevertheless a career high.

Randy Hughes, S, Oklahoma, 1975-80

Statistics: Hughes recorded 11 interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Hughes played six seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Hughes was part of the Dirty Dozen draft of 1975 and served as a capable backup to Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters. He recorded an interception and recovered two fumbles in Super Bowl XII in perhaps his best performance as a pro. He was the likely replacement for Harris in 1980, but injuries kept him out of action for much of that year, and he retired before the 1981 season.

Don McIlhenny, RB, Southern Methodist, 1960-61

Statistics: McIlhenny rushed for 321 yards and one touchdown with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than two full seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: He was part of the 1960 expansion draft, noteworthy because he was a former SMU star. However, he did not have many chances in Dallas and was traded to the 49ers midway through the 1961 season.

Jim Ridlon, S, Syracuse, 1963-64

Statistics: Ridlon recorded four interceptions for the Cowboys.

Accolades: He was named All-Pro by The Sporting News in 1964.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He came to Dallas in 1963 after six years in San Francisco. His final season as a pro was his best when he picked off four passes and recovered two fumbles.

Stan Smagala, DB, Notre Dame, 1990-91

Statistics: Smagala played in 11 games with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in parts of two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Here’s a funny quote: “Smagala never doubted his ability, despite having the body build that could be confused with your favorite grocery checkout boy.” Not sure what I could add to that.

Chris Warren, RB, Ferrum, 1998-00

Statistics: Warren rushed for 948 yards and scored eight touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played three seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Warren was a former Pro Bowler when he joined the Cowboys in 1998. He rushed for more than 6700 yards in eight years with Seattle and was an adequate backup for the Cowboys. However, he had slowed down considerably by 2000 and was released near the end of the season.

Claxton Welch, RB, Oregon, 1969-71

Statistics: Welch rushed for 85 yards and scored one touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a little-used backup to Walt Garrison in Dallas.

A.D. Whitfield, RB, North Texas, 1965

Statistics: Whitfield had one career rushing attempt with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one year in Dallas.

Intangibles: Whitfield did very little in Dallas but later became the starting fullback in Washington.

Charlie Williams, S, Bowling Green, 1995-00

Statistics: Williams recorded one interception and 84 career tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A former third-round pick, Williams spent his career as a special teams player.

Robert Wilson, FB, Texas A&M, 1994

Statistics: Wilson had one rushing attempt in Dallas for minus-one yards.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in two games with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: The former Texas A&M star was signed to compete as a backup fullback. However, he did very little with the team and was released after seeing action in two games.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #42

  • Anthony Henry (66%, 87 Votes)
  • Randy Hughes (25%, 33 Votes)
  • Darryl Clack (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Charlie Williams (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Troy Hambrick (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Chris Warren (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Jim Ridlon (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Don McIlhenny (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Robert Wilson (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Stan Smagala (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Claxton Welch (0%, 0 Votes)
  • A.D. Whitfield (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ricky Easmon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 131

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My Vote: Henry

Anthony HenryThe players in this list aren’t completely unknown, but most were backups. Hughes could have been very good, but he suffered injuries that kept him from being a long-time starter. Hambrink and Warren were capable backups but little more. And while Ridlon earned All-Pro honors, he does not have a long list of accomplishments in Dallas.

Henry has started more games already than anyone else on this list. He has also accomplished more statistically than any of the other defensive backs, even though he has only played three seasons in Dallas. Tough call, but I’ll give it to Henry.

  • I enjoy your take on things. I like Henry, but I gotta give my vote to Hughes.

    I can’t wait for #43’s list. It will be a crime if Cliff isn’t overwhelmingly the choice.

  • I was torn between Anthony Henry and Randy Hughes. In the end, I went with the Oklahoma grad. I have a hard time resisting those names from long ago. Another few years of solid play at CB for Henry and he will subplant Hughes in this spot but for now, I will stick with the OLD #42.

  • Fred Goodwin

    I also went with Hughes.

    At least we won a Super Bowl (XII) while he was playing, and he was on two more teams that lost in the Super Bowl (X, XIII).

    I know those are team accomplishments, but he was part of the teams that got us into those championship games.

  • I was really torn because I remember Hughes’ play during SB XII. I also remember him as a starter in 1979 when Charlie Waters was injured. This is one of the few instances where I went with the more recent player (and my Timmy Newsome pick over Dan Reeves was a mistake), but everyone has made good arguments for Hughes.

  • holyhangtime

    Like Henry but have to go with Hughes. In fact, Randy White felt Hughes was just as deserving as the MVP of Super XII as Martin and him.

  • melonball

    If I remember correctly, Charlie Williams was much more than just a special teams guy. He was our longtime nickel back when Darren Woodson went into the slot, taking Woody’s spot. He was pretty good at that role, too.

  • Rantonioa21

    Hughes would have been one of the best if he didn’t have the¬†chronic¬†shoulder separations.