Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from August 24, 1985

The cover of the August 24, 1985 issue of the Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly. This features linebacker Jesse Penn.

A reader named Bruce Lombard earlier this year most generously sent me a stack of copies of the old Dallas Cowboys Official Weekly from the 1985 season and 1986 offseason. Each Wednesday, we will take a look at some interesting tidbits in these issues.

The focus this week is in the issue published on August 24, 1985.

Ask Tex Schramm: Why draft Herschel Walker?

Each issue of this weekly featured a column with Tex Schramm. Here is a question and answer from August 24.

Q. How was the decision made to waste an early round draft choice on Herschel Walker, who might not play for Dallas for a long time, if ever, instead of a player who could help the team this season?  Mrs. Kris Ragan, Midlothian, Va.

Tex: One must remember that Herschel Walker joined the U.S. Football League after his sophomore season and thus he participated in our college draft this year when he would normally have been eligible for selection in the National Football League. Therefore, although you seem to have heard of Herschel for many years, he is still just 23 years old, with a long future ahead of him.

In the fifth round, we felt that it was just as good a gamble that he would join us in some year down the line as a player coming in out of college and making our team and taking several years to develop. If he does come, you have a great player.

Schramm also commented that the new DiamondVision at Texas Stadium would show all replays from the game, and the new training facility at Valley Ranch would not replace training camp in Thousand Oaks, California.

Preseason: Cowboys Beat Chargers in Overtime

The Cowboys trailed the Chargers 24-17 late in the game during the second preseason game of the season. Then backup QB Gary Hogeboom drove the team to the San Diego 14. With just seconds left, Hogeboom threw a pass that bounced off the shoulder pads of safety Gill Byrd, and receiver Duriel Harris came up with the touchdown reception.

Interestingly, starter Danny White returned to the game in overtime, but he injured his ribs. Rafael Septien kicked the game-winning field goal.

Drew Pearson, Wide Receiver Consultant

Pearson was forced to retire before the 1984 season after he was severely injured in a car accident on the evening of March 24, 1984. Pearson came back during the 1985 training camp to serve as a consultant, with talk that he would remain as a coach.

High Expectations for Jesse Penn

Rookie linebacker Jesse Penn, as second-round pick in 1985, looked so good in training camp that some thought he would start. Brad Sham asked linebackers coach Jerry Tubbs about Penn:

Q. The media has lifted the fan expectations of Jesse Penn, that he might become a starter in his rookie year, and he didn’t hurt himself any with that long interception return against Green Bay [in the first preseason game]. Has the media built him up too much, or is he really there?

A. Actually, it’s still a little early to say. It’s a difficult thing to start as a rookie. It’s just exceedingly difficult. In talking to Jesse, he’s told me what he did in college (at Virginia Tech). He really had about two jobs to do. With the Dallas Cowboys, you must have 30 different situations in which you have to react a certain way. That’s a tremendous burden to put on someone, but he does have good physical ability, and there’s a possibility that he’ll work out.

[Of course, Penn never started a game in the NFL and was out of the league after 1987]


Some of these nicknames are familiar, while others aren’t:

Tony Hill: “The Thrill”

Bill Bates: “Manster, Junior”

Ed Jones: “Too Tall”

Randy White: “Manster”

Brian Baldinger: “Ol’ Baldy”

Ron Fellows: “Tweety Bird”

Steve DeOssie: “Barney Rubble”

Dennis Thurman: “The Coach”

Tom Rafferty: “Ruff”

Jim Cooper: “Confetti”

Best Free Agent Signings

Dallas coaches and executives were asked who the team’s all-time best free agent signing was.

Tex Schramm: Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris

Gil Brandt: Cornell Green

Jerry Tubbs (LB Coach): Harris

Don Cochran (Trainer): Dan Reeves

Bob Griffin (Scout): Pearson

Joe Bailey (VP): Pettis Norman

Doug Todd (Public Relations Director): Pearson.

  • Jason Neighbors

    Kinda funny that back in those days of a 20 round draft the 5th round was looked on by someone as an early round pick, heh.

  • Anonymous

    These days, we just waste fifth-round picks on kickers.

  • Jesse Penn

    I think you have your facts wrong, Jesse did start a couple of games for the Cowboys. Jesse started against the Bengles and the Niners. Jesse’s peomising career ended not because of talent but injury.

  • Dennis Mitchell

    I got screwed royally in training camp..I played my arse off against the Rams and Raiders during preseason scrimmages..I suffered a concussion, and pulled my right hamstring, only to be released two days later…Tony D, I will never forget your kind words you shared with me in the locker room..You are, and still is number one in my book, as a player and a great human being…Dennis Thurman, you were a coward!..You treated me like crap!..I guess you were scared, I was about to take your roster spot!..you helped coach Stallings with us Db’s, but you were cold as ice towards me…for the life of me I could never understand…Anyways that experience, I had the priveledge to live through rookie, and training camp, taught me a lot in life..Thank you coach Landry, for speaking to me on that bullhorn, “way to go 34”, rip sir..those were the days..