Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #52

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #52

Eleven players have worn #52 for the Cowboys, including nine linebackers and two offensive linemen.

Billy Cannon Jr., LB, Texas A&M, 1984

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played a total of eight games in the NFL.

Intangibles: Cannon was one of the biggest busts in team history. The son of a former Hall of Famer of the same name, Cannon Jr. was selected in the first round of the 1984 draft. After playing on special teams in the first half of the 1984 season, though, he suffered a career-ending neck injury.

Dexter Coakley, LB, Appalachian State, 1997-04

Statistics: Coakley had 544 tackles, 152 assists, and 10 interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: He was named to three Pro Bowls.

Longevity: He played eight seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Coakley was an undersized linebacker from a small school. But he began his career as a starter and missed only one game during the course of his career in Dallas. Even in a dreadful 5-11 season in 2001, Coakley provided two bright spots by returning a couple of interceptions for touchdowns. Coakley retired after playing two seasons with the St. Louis Rams.

Chris Duliban, LB, Texas, 1987

Statistics: Duliban recorded two sacks with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Replacement player.

Intangibles: Replacement player. As it turns out, Duliban is now the head coach of the CenTex Barracudas of the Intense Football League.

Dave Edwards, LB, Auburn, 1963-75

Statistics: Edwards recorded 13 interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played 13 seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Edwards was an unsung hero on the great Dallas defenses of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was overshadowed by stars Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan, but he was a great player for many years.

Jim Eidson, G/C, Mississippi State, 1976

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Eidson played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: A second round pick in 1976, he suffered an injury in 1977 and never played again.

Wayne Hansen, LB, Texas Western, 1960

Statistics: Hansen recorded two interceptions with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas signed Hansen to play in the inaugural 1960 season after he spent 10 years in Chicago.

Scott McLean, LB, Florida State, 1983

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in less than one full season with Dallas.

Intangibles: He suffered a knee injury after making the team in 1983.

Mickey Pruitt, LB, Colorado, 1991-92

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: After the Cowboys acquired him from Chicago, Pruitt was one of the few veteran linebackers on the team. He played mostly as a backup.

Jim Schwantz, LB, Purdue, 1994-96

Statistics: Schwantz had 35 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1996.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Schwantz appeared to be the second coming of Bill Bates, earning a spot in the Pro Bowl thanks to his special teams plays. However, that 1996 season was his last, as he defected via free agency to San Francisco. Two years after that, he was out of the league.

Sean Scott, LB, Maryland, 1988

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than one full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Scott was a reserve player.

Robert Shaw, C, Tennessee, 1979-81

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: Shaw played three seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: A first-round pick in 1979, Shaw was on the verge of developing into a top-flight center. However, he suffered a serious knee injury in 1981 and never returned to the NFL.


Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #52.

Greatest #52

  • Dexter Coakley (77%, 142 Votes)
  • Dave Edwards (20%, 36 Votes)
  • Robert Shaw (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Jim Eidson (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Sean Scott (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jim Schwantz (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Billy Cannon Jr. (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Chris Duliban (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Scott McLean (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mickey Pruitt (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Wayne Hansen (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 184

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My Vote: Edwards

Dave EdwardsI suspect that Coakley is going to receive the most votes (and frankly I am more familiar with Coakley). But the bottom line for me is that Edwards was an underappreciated player on some of the best defensive teams in team history, while Coakley was a standout on defenses that got progressively worse as his career progressed. It was a tough choice, but I stuck with the linebacker who started in three Super Bowls.

  • Fred Goodwin

    #52 will always mean “Dave Edwards” to me.

    Looking strictly at Pro Bowls, one can make a solid case for Dexter Coakley. No doubt Coakley was very good, but Edwards was a steady force at the strongside LB spot at a time when the Cowboys’ defense was not yet known as “Doomsday”. He didn’t get the press and the accolades that fellow LBs Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan got.

    He just did his job, and did it well.

  • Everything I’ve read about the 70s-era Cowboys from those who know anything refer to Edwards right along side Jordan and Howley. I was personally a big fan of Coakley, who was one of the “good guy” picks of the mid- to late-1990s (Randall Godfrey and Greg Ellis were other examples), but I thought Edwards should get the nod here.

  • Tim Truemper

    Generally I go with the old timers because they are often overlooked. And as Fred said, #52 means Dave Edwards to me. And I feel the same way. With all that said, I still voted for Dexter Coakley because he seemed more special as a player who had to endure playing on some not so good teams. If I could split my vote though….

  • Fred Goodwin

    Good point, Tim.

    Dexter was a good one, certainly no disrespect intended when I voted for Edwards.

  • del ives

    #52= dave edwards.’nuff said

  • Ripper

    The poll is skewed in my opinion. #52 is Dave Edwards…no way Coakley gets it. ANY real fan knows that Edwards was way more prolific in terms of importance to a franchise. Coakley was a defensive safety playing linebacker on a team of misfit oddball losers that went nowhere but out of the league. Those late 90s’ teams meant very little compared to the original Doomsday defense. Edwards was a run stuffing force for many years and 5 championship games. No offense to Dexter Coakley, but he can’t carry Mr. Edwards’ jockey strap. I’m with the guys on this thread..Dave Edwards #52!

  • Most people just vote who they know, and recently Dex wore the the number and was a solid player. But do your homework on this one. Dave Edwards started in 3 Superbowls, the Ice Bowl, and was named to the all 25 year team. John Madden had his Oakland linebackers study his technique in stopping the run WHILE jamming the tight end. Hollywood Henderson gives Dave huge props in teaching him how to play the position. 13 years starting for Landry and a huge piece of a great defense, there is no comparison here. 52 Dave “Fuzzy” Edwards.

  • melonball

    Come on, Ripper, calling any professional football player a loser is ridiculous. Making that statement doesn’t give you much credibility. Also, let’s remember the defense wasn’t so much the problem during the early 2000’s, it was a total lack of an offense. And Coakley was a big reason for what success the defense had. Making three Pro Bowls on a losing team is no mean feat.