Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #50

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #50

Eleven players have worn #50 for the Cowboys, including ten linebackers and a center.

Bobby Abrams, LB, Michigan, 1992-93

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None

Longevity: Abrams played in parts of two seasons with the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993.

Intangibles: Dallas was one of five teams on which Abrams played in six seasons. He was mostly a special teams player while with the Cowboys.

Jamal Brooks, LB, Hampton, 2001-03

Statistics: Brooks recorded 10 tackles with four assists in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He was on the roster for three years, but he only saw action in 2001.

Intangibles: Brooks made the team as a free agent in 2001 but never had much of a chance in Dallas. He last played in 2006 with the Rams.

Darrick Brownlow, LB, Illinois, 1991, 1994

Statistics: Brownlow recorded a total of ten tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played with Dallas in 1991 before moving on to Tampa Bay. After starting a few games with the Buccaneers, he returned to Dallas in 1994.

Intangibles: Brownlow had the bad luck of playing on two Cowboys teams in the early 1990s that did not win the Super Bowl. Or perhaps Brownlow was the bad luck in 1991 and 1994?

Dave Harper, LB, Humboldt State, 1990

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None

Longevity: He saw action in six games in 1990.

Intangibles: Harper is one of six players from NCAA Div. II Humboldt State to play in the NFL. He saw some action on special teams but only played one season.

Steve Hendrickson, LB, California, 1989

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in four games with Dallas in 1989 after being released by San Francisco.

Intangibles: The 49ers drafted Hendrickson in the sixth round of the 1989 draft, but he barely saw action there as a rookie. He developed into a part-time starter with San Diego.

D.D. Lewis, LB, Mississippi State, 1968, 1970-81

Statistics: Lewis recorded eight interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played 13 seasons with Dallas, missing the 1969 season due to military obligations.

Intangibles: Tom Landry once called Lewis the team’s most underrated player. He was a dependable player who took over as the starting weakside linebacker job when Chuck Howley retired. He was a mainstay with the Cowboys, though unfortunately the final defensive play of his long career was backing up Joe Montana before Montana hit Dwight Clark with “The Catch.”

Justin Rogers, LB, SMU, 2007-

Statistics: Rogers recorded 13 tackles and five assists with the Cowboys in 2007.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He first played with the Cowboys in 2007.

Intangibles: The Cowboys picked up Rogers off of waivers late in preseason in 2007. He’ll likely contribute on special teams again in 2008 if he makes the team.

Jeff Rohrer, LB, Yale, 1982-87

Statistics: Rohrer recorded 7.5 sacks with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: Along with Calvin Hill, Rohrer was one of two Yale graduates to have played with the Cowboys. He developed into a starter by the 1985 season but suffered a serious back injury in 1988 that forced him to retire.

Clay Shiver, C, Florida State, 1996-98

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys drafted Shiver in the third round of the 1996 draft, and he became a starter in 1997 when Ray Donaldson retired. At 283 pounds, Shiver was smaller than most other Dallas lineman, and he was often blamed for the sharp decline in the Cowboys’ rushing attack in 1997. He was reduced to a part-time starter in 1998 before being released.

Brandon Tolbert, LB, Georgia, 1998-00

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Tolbert was on the roster for three seasons, but he never played a down for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: n/a

Jerry Tubbs, LB, Oklahoma, 1960-67

Statistics: Tubbs recorded 15 interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: He made the Pro Bowl in 1962.

Longevity: Tubbs played eight seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Tubbs in the 1960 expansion draft and convinced Tubbs to play for the Dallas franchise rather than work for Coca-Cola. Tubbs, Bob Lilly, and Don Bishop were the first three defensive players in franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl. He was a key player in the Cowboys’ early years, using his great speed and aggression to man the middle of the defense. He transitioned into the job of player coach when Lee Roy Jordan took over at middle linebacker, and Tubbs remained as an assistant coach for more than twenty seasons.


Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #50.

Greatest #50

  • D.D. Lewis (79%, 100 Votes)
  • Jerry Tubbs (18%, 23 Votes)
  • Bobby Abrams (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Dave Harper (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jeff Rohrer (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Darrick Brownlow (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Steve Hendrickson (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jamal Brooks (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Justin Rogers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Clay Shiver (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Brandon Tolbert (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 127

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My Vote: Lewis

D.D. LewisWhen Dwight Douglass Lewis retired after the 1981 season, there went the final link to the 1960s Dallas Cowboys. Lewis wasn’t a dominant linebacker by any means, but he was the type of hard-working defensive players who was always around the ball.

Tubbs deserves special mention here. He was really the team’s first quality linebacker whom few people remember.

  • Dang! That probably took a while to write…pretty creative too. I couldn’t even begin to vote on those players though – too far back for me.

  • Fred Goodwin

    This vote was tough for me — but I finally went with DD over Tubbs. The thing I remember about Rohrer was him singing in the Cowboys Christmas video.

    I thought Rohrer had a run-in with Jimmy, but I must be thinking of someone else, as it seems Rohrer was gone by the time Jimmy got here . . .

  • Another excellent choice and player. This is a great thing you are doing.

  • Tim Truemper

    I have the same recollection about Rohrer that Fred has–that he got on Jimmy Johnson’s bad side and got cut loose. Guess I need to check Pro Football Reference and look up his career. Tough choices between Jerry Tubbs and DD but DD played longer and was part of the infamous Doomsday Defense.

  • Tim Truemper

    Hey Fred–I believe the LB who had the trouble with Jimmy Johnson was Steve Deossie–he was waived or whatever and went to the NYG and was on their SB team.

  • Fred Goodwin

    Tim – thanx, I think you’re right.

  • As it turns out, I think it was Rohrer who crossed Jerry and Jimmy. Rohrer missed the 1988 season, but at least one article about Landry’s firing quotes Rohrer. Here is the link, and below is the quote:

    ”Tom wasn’t the only one in the room who broke down,” said Jeff Rohrer, a linebacker. ”It was tough, he was saying goodbye to 29 years.”

    Rohrer, as were other players, was still furious over the way Landry was replaced.

    ”There was a better way to dump Tom,” he said. ”You could take two people with I.Q.’s of three, put them in a room together and let them brainstorm 10 minutes and they could have found a better way.”

  • MDIT: I like your idea for using WhatIfSports. I’ve added your link to the blog here, and I will check back for your series.

  • Tim Truemper

    Thanks kickholder for the info on Jeff Rohrer. I do believe that Rohrer did cross J and J when he attempted a comeback in 1989–got waived or whatever, and that was it. Cannot remember why Deossie went to the Giants but I do know that he and Everson Walls got their SB ring with them.

  • ken

    Love this whole thing. Been looking for something like this for years. Too bad the DC website doesn’t think enough of the Cowboys to do any history on them.

    BTW, there haven’t been six Humboldt State guys who’ve played for the Cowboys. There’ve only been six in the history of the NFL. Only one, Wendell Hayes, was any good.

  • Thanks, Ken. I’ve corrected the comment about Humboldt St.

  • I voted Jerry Tubbs because of the length of time he spent with the organization. He was with the Cowboys as long as Landry was (29 years). That has to speak for something.

  • Fred Goodwin

    Marty: good point re: Tubbs.

    He was a playmaker acquired during the expansion draft, when most teams exposed their worst players.

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  • John D. Lee

    No question about it D.D.(Dwight-Douglas) Lewis was the best! 13 years speaks for its self. J.D.L.