Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #82

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #82

Sixteen players have worn #82 for the Cowboys. This includes ten wide receivers and six tight ends.

Cornell Burbage, WR, Kentucky, 1987-89

Statistics: Burbage caught 26 passes for 352 yards and 2 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Burbage was primarily a kick returner during his first two seasons with the Cowboys, but he also served as a backup receiver in 1989.

Frank Clarke, TE/WR, Colorado, 1960-67

Statistics: Clarke caught 281 passes for 5214 yards and 50 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He was named to one Pro Bowl.

Longevity: He played eight seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Clarke in the 1960 expansion draft, and he turned out to be one of the best players for the team during the 1960s. He was the first receiver in team history to gain more than 1,000 yards in a season, and his 50 TD receptions still ranks fourth on the all-time franchise list.

Cory Fleming, WR, Tennessee, 1994-95

Statistics: Fleming caught six passes for 83 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Some hoped that Fleming might develop into a top-flight receiver to replace Alvin Harper in 1995, but it never happened. He was primarily a reserve during his two seasons with the Cowboys.

Tony McGee, TE, Michigan, 2002-03

Statistics: McGee caught 23 passes for 294 yards and 1 TD with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

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

Intangibles: Dallas signed McGee in 2002 when the team converted to the West Coast Offense in 2002. He was never a great threat and was released during the 2003 season.

James McKnight, WR, Liberty, 2000

Statistics: McKnight caught 52 passes for 926 yards and 2 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: McKnight played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: When Joey Galloway and Rocket Ismail were injured during the 2000 season, McKnight developed into one of the team’s few weapons. He nearly gained 1,000 yards that year, but never came close again. He signed with Miami in 2001.

Johnny Mitchell, TE, Nebraska, 1996

Statistics: Mitchell caught one pass for 14 yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than one full season for the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Dallas signed Mitchell after he was released by the Jets. He was a former first-round pick, but was a bust in New York and did next to nothing in Dallas.

Jeff Ogden, WR, Eastern Washington, 1998-99

Statistics: Odgen caught 20 passes for 207 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles:Odgen saw some action as a slot receiver with the Cowboys. He later played for Miami.

Beasley Reece, WR, North Texas, 1976

Statistics: Reece caught one pass for six yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Reece saw some action at wide receiver for the Cowboys but is better known for his time as a defensive back with the Giants.

Mike Renfro, WR, Texas Christian, 1984-87

Statistics: Renfro caught 163 passes for 2525 yards and 17 touchdowns with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Renfro from Houston for Butch Johnson in 1984. Renfro’s father, Ray, was an assistant with Dallas, and Mike had some solid seasons in Dallas before retiring.

Derrick Shepard, WR, Oklahoma, 1989-91

Statistics: Shepard averaged 6.8 yards per punt return and 20.1 yards per kickoff return for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than three full seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Shepard in 1989, and he was the team’s top punt returner in 1989 and 1990.

Cleo Simmons, TE, Jackson State, 1983

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Simmons was the team’s third tight end in 1983, but he failed to make the squad in 1984.

Jimmy Smith, WR, Jackson State, 1992

Statistics: Smith finished with 12,287 yards during his career, but none of those were with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Smith developed into a great receiver with Jacksonville, but he was injured for most of his stay in Dallas.

Robert Steele, WR, Northern Alabama, 1978

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Steele played mostly on special teams in 1978.

Otto Stowe, WR, Iowa State, 1973

Statistics: Stowe caught 23 passes for 389 yards and 6 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Stowe led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns for the first seven games of the 1973 season, but he injured his ankle midway through the year. Drew Pearson then stepped in, and Stowe was sent to Denver.

James Whalen, TE, Kentucky, 2000, 2002-03

Statistics: Whalen caught 17 passes for 152 yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three total seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was primarily a blocking tight end who started several games in 2001.

Jason Witten, TE, Tennessee, 2003-present

Statistics: Witten has caught 348 passes for 3983 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Cowboys. He has already surpassed Jay Novacek and Doug Cosbie in receptions and receiving yards.

Accolades: He has been named to four Pro Bowls and one All Pro team.

Longevity: He will enter his sixth season in 2008.

Intangibles: Witten joined the Cowboys at the age of 21 in 2003, and at the young age of 26, he is more accomplished than any other tight end in team history. He is also a great blocker, meaning that he is more of a complete package than any other tight end in team history.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #82.

Greatest #82

  • Jason Witten (88%, 106 Votes)
  • Mike Renfro (5%, 6 Votes)
  • Frank Clarke (5%, 6 Votes)
  • James Whalen (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jimmy Smith (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Cory Fleming (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Otto Stowe (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Robert Steele (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Cleo Simmons (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Derrick Shepard (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Beasley Reece (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jeff Ogden (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Johnny Mitchell (0%, 0 Votes)
  • James McKnight (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Tony McGee (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Cornell Burbage (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 120

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My Vote: Witten

Jason WittenI’ll just say it: Witten is the best tight end in team history. I want to say that he still needs work to surpass Novacek, but Witten is just as much of a security blanket and slightly more of a playmaker than Novacek was. I would not have agreed with that statement a year ago, but 2008 (96 receptions, 1145 yards) showed how great Witten can and will be.

Clarke deserves to be mentioned here. He was not well regarded in Cleveland, but he was a standout with the Cowboys during the early years. He transitioned into a tight end towards the end of his career, and he continued to be a playmaker.

  • Tim Truemper

    I have to agree with kickholder that Witten has surpassed all of the other great Cowboy TE’s.

    Frank Clarke should also be remembered for one of the great plays in Cowboy history, a stunning long reception for a TD (75 yards?) against GB in the 1966 NFL championship game. Frank was real gamer and dependable receiver. On the video highlights supplied by this website, he can be seen laying a crushing block while Don Perkins score on a rushing TD.

  • No love for the old guys. I voted for Clarke just because he simply is a forgotten hero. He was the first Cowboys deep threat. He stretched the defenses an was the COwboys first real threat to take the ball all the way. He led the league in Yards per catch twice and in TDs once. It’s a darn shame no body remembers great players from bad teams.. 🙁

  • Fred Goodwin

    Marty, you know I love the old-timers, but I simply had to go with Witten on this one.

    I know today’s game is different than it was back in the 60s, but if you look at each players’ relative importance to his team and his QB, I think there is no question that Witten means more to the current team (and Romo) than Clarke meant to the 60s Cowboys (and Meredith).

    I’m not saying that’s a fair comparison — but its how I made my decision.