Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #79

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #79

Thirteen players have worn #79 for the Cowboys. This includes ten offensive linemen and three defensive linemen.

Willie Broughton, DT, Miami, Fla.., 1989-90

Statistics: Broughton recorded three sacks with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Broughton played for Jimmy Johnson in Miami, and when Johnson arrived in Dallas in 1989, he talked Broughton out of retiring. Broughton played two seasons in Dallas, starting a total of 14 games.

Sal Cesario, G, Cal. Poly SLO, 1987

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Char-ron Dorsey, T, Florida State, 2001-02

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

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

Intangibles: Dorsey was a seventh-round pick in 2001. He saw some playing time during his rookie season, but he was released early in the 2002 season. At 367 pounds, he was known for his size.

Ken Frost, DT, Tennessee, 1961-62

Statistics: Frost recorded one interception with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Frost made the team in 1961 and saw some action in two seasons.

Forrest Gregg, G/T, Southern Methodist, 1971

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None with Dallas. He is a Hall of Famer, though, thanks to 14 outstanding seasons with Green Bay.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Tom Landry persuaded Gregg to come out of retirement in 1971 to play one final season. He was a backup in Dallas but picked up his third Super Bowl ring and sixth NFL championship.

John Hunt, G/T, Florida, 1984

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Hunt was injured for much of his rookie season, but late in the year, he filled in on the offensive line. He later played briefly for Tampa Bay.

Dick Klein, T, Iowa, 1960

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made an AFL Pro Bowl with the Boston Patriots.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Klein from Chicago, and he started during the Cowboys’ inaugural season. He later played for the Steelers, Patriots, and Raiders.

Harvey Martin, DE, East Texas State, 1973-83

Statistics: Unofficially, Martin had 114 career sacks, including 20 in 1977.

Accolades: He was named to four Pro Bowls and one All Pro team. He was a member of the All-Decade team of the 1970s.

Longevity: Martin played 11 seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was one of the best linemen of the 1970s, earning co-MVP honors in Super Bowl XII along with Randy White. He is one of a handful of players whom Cowboys fans (me included) believe should be in the Hall of Fame.

Marques McFadden, T, Arizona, 2002

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: McFadden made the team in 2004 when Dallas was still trying to rebuild its offensive line. He saw action in only four games.

Rob Petitti, T, Pittsburgh, 2005

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas picked up Petitti in the sixth round of the 2005 draft, and he started every game that season. However, the Cowboys waived him in 2006, and he was picked up by the Saints. He played in 2007 with St. Louis, but is now injured.

Jacob Rogers, T, Southern California, 2004

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Rogers is probably Bill Parcells’ biggest bust as Cowboys coach/draft guru. Rogers was an outstanding college tackle, but he only played in two games with the Cowboy as a rookie. In 2005, he decided to undergo microfracture surgery on his right knee, and he missed the entire 2005 season. Dallas released him in 2006, and he now coaches at Central Connecticut State.

Daryle Smith, T, Tennessee, 1987-88

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Smith was originally a replacement player who remained on the team after the strike. He filled in quite a bit for Mark Tuinei in 1987 and 1988.

Erik Williams, T, Central State Ohio, 1991-00

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: Williams made four Pro Bowls and two All Pro teams.

Longevity: He played 10 seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Williams was on his way to becoming the Larry Allen of the Cowboys until a wreck during the 1994 season caused him to miss more than half of the season. He returned in 1995 and made three more Pro Bowls, but he was never as dominant after the wreck as he was in 1992 and 1993. He was more penalty-prone than Flozell Adams is now, as Williams had a penchant for violating the “Erik Williams” rule by using illegal hands to the face (this was, of course, one of his most effective moves, but after punching Reggie White throughout the 1995 NFC Championship Game, the league outlawed the practice). To his credit, Williams only missed a handful of starts after his accident, even though he knee and elbow problems.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #79.

Greatest #79

  • Harvey Martin (77%, 136 Votes)
  • Erik Williams (21%, 37 Votes)
  • Willie Broughton (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Forrest Gregg (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Char-ron Dorsey (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Ken Frost (0%, 0 Votes)
  • John Hunt (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Sal Cesario (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Marques McFadden (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Rob Petitti (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jacob Rogers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Daryle Smith (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dick Klein (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 176

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My Vote: Martin

Harvey MartinEven with the likes of Charles Haley, DeMarcus Ware (yet), and Too Tall Jones, no Cowboy lineman was as good at rushing the passer as Martin was. He was fast and tough, and once again, he belongs at least in the Ring of Honor if not the Hall of Fame.

Incidentally, Martin wore #76 as East Texas State University in the 1970s, as you can see from the photo below. Here is a story written after Martin’s death in 2001 (the link is to Texas A&M Commerce, which is the current name for the former East Texas State).

Harvey Martin

We sometimes tend to forget how good Williams was in the early 1990s. He was just as dominating as Larry Allen, and he remained an effective (if not quite as outstanding) tackle for the rest of the decade. Gregg was obviously one of the all-time greats, but not with Dallas, and the others were mostly spot starters or backups.

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Article by Matt Cordon

Blogging impatiently about the Cowboys since 2006. Being a fan since 1977 hasn't required quite as much patience.
  • http://www.cowboycards.com/ cowboycards

    Eric Williams comes in a close second here but the nod has to go to Harvey Martin. Martin dominated the NFL for almost a decade as the leagues top DE. He recorded 23 sacks in 14 games in 1977, before sacks were an official stat. Martin was simply the best speed rusher at DE that I have ever seen and the Cowboys suffered dearly after he departed until Charles Haley showed up in the early 90s.

  • Thomas

    Harvey Martin grew up in Dallas. He went to South Oak Cliff High School. At ETSU he and the Lions won the NAIA National Championship in 1972. Dwight White who passed away recently and was a member of the famed steel curtain defense in Pittsburg, played on that national championship team with Harvey.

  • melonball

    White joined the Steelers in 1971, Thomas.

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  • Eric Frost

    Ken Frost was from and attended Tennessee, not Kentucky.

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