Know Your 1992 Dallas Cowboys (May 6): Ken Norton Irks Jimmy Johnson

A quarter century ago today…Ken Norton made Jimmy Johnson angry.

This post is part of the 1992 Season in Review series, marking the 25th anniversary of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl championship season.

On May 6, 1992…

The Dallas Cowboys were in the middle of their “quarterback school,” which was supposed to involve all players. However, 12 of the Cowboys remained unsigned and refused to participate in the quarterback school. One of those players was linebacker Ken Norton.

One year earlier, veterans Jack Del Rio, Alonzo Highsmith, Daniel Stubbs, and Dean Hamel held out of the school, but none of those players were still on the team as of May 6.

Head coach Jimmy Johnson said, “”He’s not even attending the meetings. I really don’t think it’s very sound judgment by his agent. His agent’s costing him money.”

Norton claimed that he had an infection in his hand. Johnson wasn’t buying it.


The Cowboys took 15 players in the 1992 draft, including two first-round picks—cornerback Kevin Smith of Texas A&M and linebacker Robert Jones of East Carolina. Jones was fighting for a starting spot, and Johnson even suggested that Jones, Dixon Edwards, Godfrey Myles, or Reggie Cooper could unseat Norton as the starting outside linebacker.


A player who was turning heads was a free agent center named Frank Cornish, whom the Cowboys had signed from San Diego.

Johnson commented, “He’s a 295-pounder who moves extremely well and can play either center or guard. And, of course, he has started in this league at center.”

Did you know?

In addition to Smith and Jones, two other first-round picks in 1992 eventually played for the Cowboys.

The second overall pick, Quentin Coryatt (Indianapolis), played in four games for Dallas in 1999. He recorded a total of one tackle.

Defensive end Alonzo Spellman, the 22nd overall pick by Chicago, played with the Cowboys in 1999 and 2000.

Other Memories…

You can watch highlights of the December 29, 1991 playoff game between the Cowboys and Bears on YouTube.

Del Rio was a starter on the 1991 playoff team and was one of four players in the 1991 game who would eventually become a head coach in the NFL.

The others? Jim Harbaugh, Mike Singletary, and Ron Rivera.

Several other players in that game have also been assistant coaches, and Ray Horton may eventually became a head coach.

Anyway, my most lasting memory of the Chicago game?


What did I not remember about the Chicago game?

That kicker Ken Willis looked terrible, missing two field goals that could have cost Dallas the game. No wonder the Cowboys had a new kicker in 1992.

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