Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #44

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #44

Seven players have worn #44, including three running backs, three defensive backs, and a tight end.

Don Bishop, CB, City College of Los Angeles, 1960-65

Statistics: Bishop recorded 22 interceptions with the Cowboys, including eight in 1961.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl once.

Longevity: He played six seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Bishop is one of the forgotten Cowboys. He had very good speed and was a leader in the Dallas secondary during the team’s early history. He ranks 11th on the team’s all-time interception list.

Michael Brooks, S, North Carolina State, 1990

Statistics: Brooks did not record any meaningful stats with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He dressed for three games in 1990.

Intangibles: He saw action on special teams but did very little.

Lincoln Coleman, RB, Baylor, 1993-94

Statistics: Coleman rushed for 312 yards with three touchdowns as one of Emmitt Smith’s backups.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: Coleman is probably best remembered for his performance on Thanksgiving Day in 1993 in the “Snow Bowl.” Filing in for an injured Smith, Coleman rushed for 57 yards. He remained on the team in 1994 but was released before the 1995 season.

Cornell Gowdy, DB, Morgan State, 1986

Statistics: Gowdy did not record any notable statistics in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He saw action in three games in 1986.

Intangibles: Not much worth noting.

Rodney Hannah, TE, Houston, 2007-

Statistics: Hannah has not yet played in an NFL game.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He was on the practice squad in 2007.

Intangibles: Hannah may not make the team in 2008, but he remains on the roster.

Robert Newhouse, FB, Houston, 1972-83

Statistics: Newhouse rushed for 4784 and 31 touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played 12 seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Newhouse was one of the most dependable Cowboys during the dozen years he spent on the team. He was a starter in the mid- to late-1970s and led the team in rushing in 1975. Injuries slowed him down in 1978 and 1979, and he lost his starting job by 1980. However, he continued to play on special teams for the final few years of his career.

Robert Thomas, FB, Henderson State, 1998-02

Statistics: Thomas caught 50 passes for 280 yards with the Cowboys. He also had 157 rushing yards.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Thomas was the first experiment in converting a linebacker to play fullback (Oliver Hoyte being another). Thomas was not a bad player but was also not Daryl Johnston, the man who Thomas replaced as Emmitt Smith’s primary blocker.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #44

  • Robert Newhouse (94%, 136 Votes)
  • Robert Thomas (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Don Bishop (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Lincoln Coleman (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Rodney Hannah (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Michael Brooks (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Cornell Gowdy (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 145

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My Vote: Newhouse

Robert NewhouseNewhouse endeared himself to many fans with his play, where he clawed for every yard he could get. And with 44″ thighs, he had the means to put up a good fight. “The Human Bowling Ball” is best remembered for his touchdown pass to Golden Richards in Super Bowl XII.

Bishop deserves special mention here. He was the first Pro Bowl defensive back in franchise history, and his statistics in terms of interceptions– especially between 1960 and 1963– compare favorably with anyone else in franchise history.

  • I voted for Newhouse. I typically lean towards the players from the 60s but Newhouse holds a special place in my memories. Before Dorsett arrived, Newhouse got a lot of carries and ran harder than any other player I have ever seen. Take Marion Barber, shrink him by 6 inches, and double HIS effort and you have Robert Newhouse. No knock on Barber, he runs harder than any RB I have seen since Robert Newhouse, but Newhouse took the cake. Perhaps he had a chip on his shoulder because of his size, he sure ran like he had a chip.

    And lets not forget the TD pass he threw in Super Bowl XII. Richards was covered well in the endzone but Newhouse lofted a perfect pass. Also note, he was moving to his left and throwing with his right. not an easy task.

  • Another favorite from the Cowboys of long ago gets some RESPECT!

  • Fred Goodwin

    I also went with Newhouse. I don’t recall seeing Bishop play (I started following the Cowboys in ’65 when I was in the 5th grade), but I followed Newhouse throughout his career.

  • Tim Truemper

    I voted for Robert Newhouse. He turned out to be another hard running FB in the legacy of Walt Garrison and Don Perkins who did not have great size.

    I’d have to say that if you put in a highlight reel of Perkins, Garrison, Newhouse along with Barber showing some of their best hard running efforts, you’d have quite a highlight reel.

    Like Fred, I did not see Don Bishop play as I followed the Cowboys from 1966 on. I’m curious why he was still not with the team after 1965?

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  • Tim, according to The Dallas Cowboys Encyclopedia, Bishop has knee surgery in ’64 and retired after the ’65 season.