Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #55

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #55

Twelve players, all linebackers, have worn #55 for the Cowboys.

Jack Del Rio, LB, Southern California, 1989-91

Statistics: Del Rio had 292 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played three seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Del Rio, the current coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, revived his career with the Cowboys in 1989 after being released by Kansas City. He replaced Eugene Lockhart in the middle in 1991 and was a quality starter. He then moved on to Minnesota for several years.

Steve DeOssie, LB, Boston College, 1984-88

Statistics: Unofficially, DeOssie had 70 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas before being traded to the New York Giants.

Intangibles: DeOssie was a backup for most of his time in Dallas. He was a member of the Super Bowl team of the Giants in 1990, and he was able to extend his career into the 1990s through his deep-snapping ability.

Harry Flaherty, LB, Holy Cross, 1987

Statistics: He was a replacement player in 1987.

Accolades: n/a

Longevity: He played two games during the 1987 strike.

Intangibles: n/a

Ryan Fowler, LB, Duke, 2004-06

Statistics: Fowler had 41 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Fowler was a backup for three years before moving on to Tennessee in 2007. He started 14 games with the Titans in 2007.

Lemanski Hall, LB, Alabama, 1999

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: He became a starter with the Vikings but did very little in Dallas.

Bruce Huther, LB, New Hampshire, 1977-80, 1983

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Huther was known as a special teams standout during the Super Bowl years in 1977 and 1978 and even recovered a fumbled punt in Super Bowl XII. He left after the 1980s season to play for Cleveland and Chicago but returned for one more season in Dallas in 1983.

Robert Jones, LB, East Carolina, 1992-95

Statistics: Jones had 283 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Jones was a first-round pick in 1992 and became the team’s starting middle linebacker as a rookie. He lost his job, however, during the 1993 season when the Cowboys moved Ken Norton to the middle. Once Norton left via free agency after that 1993 season, Jones returned to his starting role, and he was the starter during the Super Bowl team of 1995. He left via free agency after the 1995 season.

Lee Roy Jordan, LB, Alabama, 1963-76

Statistics: Jordan had 743 career tackles and 32 career interceptions.

Accolades: Five Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team. He was named to the Ring of Honor in 1989.

Longevity: Jordan played 14 seasons in the NFL, all with Dallas.

Intangibles: Jordan led the Dallas defense for more than a decade. A meticulous student of the game off the field, Jordan was the perfect middle linebacker for Tom Landry’s flex defense. He retired as the team’s all-time leading tackler and held that record until Darren Woodson surpassed it.

Danny Spradlin, LB, Tennessee, 1981-82

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Spradlin struggled to learn the flex defense in Dallas and was traded after two uneventful seasons.

Markus Steele, LB, Southern California, 2001-03

Statistics: Steele recorded 46 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Steele was a fourth-round pick who started several games for the bad 2001 team. He saw progressively less action during the next two seasons, and he was gone after 2003.

Fred Strickland, LB, Purdue, 1996-98

Statistics: Strickland had 199 tackles with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas signed Strickland from Green Bay in 1996 to replace the departed Robert Jones (see above). Strickland was not the speed linebacker that Jones was, but Strickland was probably a smarter player. He was a quality starter for three years.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #55.

Greatest #55

  • Lee Roy Jordan (82%, 127 Votes)
  • Jack Del Rio (10%, 16 Votes)
  • Robert Jones (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Fred Strickland (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Ryan Fowler (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Harry Flaherty (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Steve DeOssie (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Danny Spradlin (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Lemanski Hall (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Bruce Huther (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Tyson Smith (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Markus Steele (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

Loading ... Loading ...

My Vote: Jordan

Lee Roy JordanThe Cowboys made their first mark not as America’s Team, but primarily thanks to the Doomsday Defense. And the flex defense system behind Doomsday was dependent on players reading their keys and reacting according to how the system told them to react. No player mastered the flex like Lee Roy Jordan, which made him the perfect middle linebacker in a defensive system that helped the Cowboys make their mark in the 1960s and 1970s.

Jack Del Rio might be more familiar to younger viewers because he is a current NFL coach. With the Cowboys, however, he could not hold a candle to Jordan. Same is true of Robert Jones and Fred Strickland.

Subscribe / Share

Article by Matt Cordon

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

Connect

newsletter software
Get Adobe Flash player