Greatest Players by Number

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This series reviews every player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, organized by their jersey numbers.

 

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #86

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #86

Fifteen players have worn #86 for the Cowboys. This includes nine wide receivers, three tight ends, a linebacker, a punter, and a defensive end.

Eric Bjornson, TE, Washington, 1995-99

Statistics: Bjornson caught 127 passes for 1232 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas hoped that Bjornson could step into the role vacated by Jay Novacek, but Bjornson had neither the hands nor the instincts that Novacek had.

Dan Campbell, TE, Texas A&M, 2003-05

Statistics: Campbell caught 25 passes for 235 yards and 2 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Campbell was known for his leadership and blocking ability. He was injured for most of the 2005 season and then left via free agency after that season.

Ralph Coleman, LB, North Carolina A&T, 1972

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Coleman was an eighth-round pick in 1972 who saw almost no action with the Cowboys.

James Dixon, WR/RB, Houston, 1989-91

Statistics: Dixon averaged 22.9 yards per kickoff return with Dallas. He also caught 26 passes for 503 yards and 2 TDs.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dixon saw quite a bit of action as a kick returner and third receiver in 1989, but his playing time decreased rapidly as the team brought in more talent. He was out of the league after 1991.

Kenny Duckett, WR, Wake Forest, 1985

Statistics: Duckett averaged 19.2 yards on nine kickoff returns.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than a full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas signed Duckett at the end of the 1985 season. He returned a few kickoffs but was out of the league after that season.

Duriel Harris, WR, New Mexico State, 1984

Statistics: Harris caught one pass for nine yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played less than one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Harris had been a good receiver with the Dolphins, and the Cowboys picked him up off of waivers from Cleveland in 1984. He did next to nothing with the Cowboys.

Bill Houston, WR, Jackson State, 1974

Statistics: Houston caugth six passes for 72 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Houston made the team as a free agent in 1974, but he saw limited action.

Butch Johnson, WR, Calf.-Riverside, 1976-83

Statistics: Johnson caught 132 passes for 2124 yards and 19 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played eight seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Johnson was a dependable third receiver for the Cowboys but is better known for his outrageous personality. He invented the famous (or infamous, perhaps) California Quake, and he caught one of the most famous passes in team history in Super Bowl XII.

Mike Lucky, TE, Arizona, 1999, 2001-02

Statistics: Lucky caught 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Lucky was primarily a blocking tight end who saw action in goalline situations.

Garry Porterfield, DE, Tulsa, 1965

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than a full season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Porterfield looked great in the 1965 preseason but did next to nothing once the regular season began. He was released midway through the 1965 season.

Dave Sherer, P, Southern Methodist, 1960

Statistics: Sherer averaged 42.5 yards per punt with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Baltimore took Sherer with its second pick in the 1959 draft, and Dallas acquired him in the 1960 expansion draft. Dallas let him go in 1961 because the team wanted a kicker who could handle both kicking and punting duties.

Mike Sherrard, WR, UCLA, 1986

Statistics: Sherrard caught 41 passes for 744 yards and 5 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He saw action during only one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: If anyone needed proof that luck was not on the Cowboys’ side during the 1980s, Sherrard provided that proof. After showing great promise during his rookie season, he suffered a series of leg injuries that caused him to miss the 1987 and 1988 seasons. He was cut and signed with San Francisco. Although never a standout player, he had a lengthy career with the 49ers, Giants, and Broncos.

Waddell Smith, WR, Kansas, 1984

Statistics: Smith caught one pass for seven yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He made the team as a free agent and played mostly on special teams.

Isaiah Stanback, WR, Washington, 2007-present

Statistics: Stanback averaged 26.0 yards on three kickoff returns in 2007.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He will enter his second season in 2008.

Intangibles: Like Eric Bjornson, Stanback played quarterback at Washington before being drafted by Dallas and converted to another position. Stanback has shown progress as a receiver, but injuries may set him back early this season.

Tyrone Williams, WR, Western Ontario, 1993

Statistics: Williams caught one pass for 25 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Not to be confused with the Tyrone Williams who played defensive back in 2004 (and who wore #37), this Tyrone Williams was a reserve receiver who caught one big 25-yard pass in a 38-3 win over Washington in 1993.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #86.

Greatest #86

  • Butch Johnson (91%, 167 Votes)
  • Dan Campbell (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Eric Bjornson (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Mike Sherrard (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Garry Porterfield (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Kenny Duckett (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Isaiah Stanback (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Bill Houston (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Waddell Smith (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dave Sherer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • James Dixon (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mike Lucky (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ralph Coleman (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Duriel Harris (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Tyrone Williams (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 184

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My Vote: Johnson

Butch JohnsonJohnson was one of the most memorable players in team history. Nobody can forget the sight of him laying out to catch Roger Staubach’s pass in Super Bowl XII, barely hanging on with his fingertips and then rolling into the end zone (whether it should have been a legal reception really doesn’t matter . . . ). And his California Quake ranks with Billy “White Shoes” Johnson’s dance as one of the most famous individual celebrations in league history.

Bjornson was not a bust, but he could not live up to the expectation that he could replace Novacek. The others were role players, backups, and/or simply not with the team long enough to accomplish anything close to what Johnson did in Dallas.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #85

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #85

Twelve players have worn #85 for the Cowboys. This includes six wide receivers, a defensive lineman, a linebacker, and four tight ends.

Note: This list does not include Mike Jefferson, who was on the practice squad in 2007. He is currently wearing #85.

Chris Brazzell, WR, Angelo State, 1999-00

Statistics: Brazzell caught seven passes for 126 yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a reserve receiver who saw a little bit of action in two seasons in Dallas.

Darrin Chiaverini, WR, Colorado, 2001

Statistics: Chiaverini caught 10 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He had been a part-time starter in Cleveland in 1999 and played in every game for Dallas in 2001. His career ended after one season in Atlanta in 2002.

Fred Cornwell, TE, Southern California, 1984-85

Statistics: Cornwell caught 8 passes for 100 yards and 2 TDs

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Cornwell was primarily a blocking tight end who backed Doug Cosbie for two seasons.

Gene Cronin, LB, Pacific, 1960

Statistics: Cronin recorded one interception with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Cronin from Detroit in the 1960 expansion draft, but he was injured for much of the 1960 season.

Steve Folsom, TE, Utah, 1987-90

Statistics: Folsom caught 37 passes for 349 yards and 4 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was mostly a backup, but he saw quite a bit of action in 1988 when Doug Cosbie was injured.

Tim Hendrix, TE, Tennessee, 1987

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Dennis McKinnon, WR, Florida State, 1990

Statistics: McKinnon caught 14 passes for 172 yards and 1 TD with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: McKinnon was a speedster known for his punt returning in Chicago (three career touchdowns). He joined the Cowboys for a season in 1990 in a backup role.

Ernie Mills, WR, Florida, 1998-99

Statistics: Mills caught 58 passes for 804 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Mills came to Dallas with Chan Gailey in 1998 and was a pretty good slot receiver. He suffered through several injuries in both seasons in Dallas and was out of football after 1999.

Jeff Robinson, TE, Idaho, 2002-05

Statistics: Robinson caught four passes for 10 yards and four touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Robinson was signed to be a long-snapper, but he also played tight end in goalline situations.

Darnay Scott, WR, San Diego State, 2002

Statistics: Scott caught 22 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Scott averaged more than 55 receptions per year in seven seasons with Cincinnati, but he was not as productive with Dallas.

Tody Smith, DL, Southern California, 1971-72

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Smith is the brother of Baltimore lineman Bubba Smith. Dallas used a first-round pick on Tody in 1971, but he held out in training camp and spent half of his first season on the taxi squad. After his second season in 1972, he was traded to Houston.

Kevin Williams, WR, Miami, Fla., 1993-96

Statistics: Williams caught 98 passes for 1268 yards and 5 TDs. He also averaged 9.9 yards per punt return, averaged 23.7 yards per kickoff return, and scored four touchdowns off of returns during his career in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Williams was initially drafted in 1993 to replace Kelvin Martin as the slot receiver and primary punt returner, and he filled both roles very well. In 1995, he became a starter when Alvin Harper defected to Tampa Bay. Williams struggled to some extent during the 1995 season, but he helped to spark the team in the final game of the season by catching nine passes for 203 yards, representing nearly a third of his total receiving yards in 1995. He left via free agency in 1997 and finished his career by playing with Arizona, Buffalo, and San Francisco.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #85.

Greatest #85

  • Kevin Williams (92%, 127 Votes)
  • Jeff Robinson (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Darnay Scott (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Chris Brazzell (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Steve Folsom (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tim Hendrix (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Ernie Mills (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tody Smith (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Gene Cronin (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fred Cornwell (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Darrin Chiaverini (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dennis McKinnon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 138

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My Vote: Williams

Kevin Williams, Dallas CowboysThis is not a great list from which to choose. Williams had some memorable plays, and he was important to the Cowboys’ championship run in 1995. None of the others really had that much impact (maybe Robinson, but only as a deep-snapper), so I had to go with Williams.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #85

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #85

Twelve players have worn #85 for the Cowboys. This includes six wide receivers, a defensive lineman, a linebacker, and four tight ends.

Note: This list does not include Mike Jefferson, who was on the practice squad in 2007. He is currently wearing #85.

Chris Brazzell, WR, Angelo State, 1999-00

Statistics: Brazzell caught seven passes for 126 yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a reserve receiver who saw a little bit of action in two seasons in Dallas.

Darrin Chiaverini, WR, Colorado, 2001

Statistics: Chiaverini caught 10 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He had been a part-time starter in Cleveland in 1999 and played in every game for Dallas in 2001. His career ended after one season in Atlanta in 2002.

Fred Cornwell, TE, Southern California, 1984-85

Statistics: Cornwell caught 8 passes for 100 yards and 2 TDs

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Cornwell was primarily a blocking tight end who backed Doug Cosbie for two seasons.

Gene Cronin, LB, Pacific, 1960

Statistics: Cronin recorded one interception with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Cronin from Detroit in the 1960 expansion draft, but he was injured for much of the 1960 season.

Steve Folsom, TE, Utah, 1987-90

Statistics: Folsom caught 37 passes for 349 yards and 4 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was mostly a backup, but he saw quite a bit of action in 1988 when Doug Cosbie was injured.

Tim Hendrix, TE, Tennessee, 1987

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Dennis McKinnon, WR, Florida State, 1990

Statistics: McKinnon caught 14 passes for 172 yards and 1 TD with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: McKinnon was a speedster known for his punt returning in Chicago (three career touchdowns). He joined the Cowboys for a season in 1990 in a backup role.

Ernie Mills, WR, Florida, 1998-99

Statistics: Mills caught 58 passes for 804 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Mills came to Dallas with Chan Gailey in 1998 and was a pretty good slot receiver. He suffered through several injuries in both seasons in Dallas and was out of football after 1999.

Jeff Robinson, TE, Idaho, 2002-05

Statistics: Robinson caught four passes for 10 yards and four touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Robinson was signed to be a long-snapper, but he also played tight end in goalline situations.

Darnay Scott, WR, San Diego State, 2002

Statistics: Scott caught 22 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Scott averaged more than 55 receptions per year in seven seasons with Cincinnati, but he was not as productive with Dallas.

Tody Smith, DL, Southern California, 1971-72

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Smith is the brother of Baltimore lineman Bubba Smith. Dallas used a first-round pick on Tody in 1971, but he held out in training camp and spent half of his first season on the taxi squad. After his second season in 1972, he was traded to Houston.

Kevin Williams, WR, Miami, Fla., 1993-96

Statistics: Williams caught 98 passes for 1268 yards and 5 TDs. He also averaged 9.9 yards per punt return, averaged 23.7 yards per kickoff return, and scored four touchdowns off of returns during his career in Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Williams was initially drafted in 1993 to replace Kelvin Martin as the slot receiver and primary punt returner, and he filled both roles very well. In 1995, he became a starter when Alvin Harper defected to Tampa Bay. Williams struggled to some extent during the 1995 season, but he helped to spark the team in the final game of the season by catching nine passes for 203 yards, representing nearly a third of his total receiving yards in 1995. He left via free agency in 1997 and finished his career by playing with Arizona, Buffalo, and San Francisco.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #85.

Greatest #85

  • Kevin Williams (92%, 127 Votes)
  • Jeff Robinson (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Darnay Scott (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Chris Brazzell (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Steve Folsom (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tim Hendrix (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Ernie Mills (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tody Smith (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Gene Cronin (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fred Cornwell (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Darrin Chiaverini (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dennis McKinnon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 138

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My Vote: Williams

Kevin Williams, Dallas CowboysThis is not a great list from which to choose. Williams had some memorable plays, and he was important to the Cowboys’ championship run in 1995. None of the others really had that much impact (maybe Robinson, but only as a deep-snapper), so I had to go with Williams.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #84

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #84

Nine players have worn #84 for the Cowboys. This includes six tight ends and three wide receivers.

Rich Borresen, TE, Northwestern, 1987

Statistics: Borresen had one kickoff return for five yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in the three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Doug Cosbie, TE, Santa Clara, 1979-88

Statistics: Cosbie caught 300 passes for 3728 yards and 30 TDs with the Cowboys. He ranks ninth in franchise history in receptions.

Accolades: Cosbie was named to three Pro Bowls.

Longevity: He played ten seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Cosbie made people forget about Billy Joe DuPree, and before Novacek and Witten came along, Cosbie had a good argument for being the best tight end in team history. He caught the touchdown pass that gave Dallas a 27-21 lead in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.

Patrick Crayton, WR, NW Okla State, 2004-present

Statistics: Crayton has caugth 120 receptions for 1716 yards and 14 TDs

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He enters his fifth season in 2008.

Intangibles: Crayton was quite a find in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. He converted from college quarterback to receiver and became a solid second receiver in 2007. However, a huge drop and a mix-up in route-running cost the Cowboys in their playoff loss to the Giants last season.

Jean Fugett, TE, Amherst, 1972-75

Statistics: Fugett caught 58 passes for 810 yards and 7 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made the Pro Bowl with Washington.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A few weeks ago, posted this video showing Fugett giving interviews before Super Bowl X. He was mostly a backup for Billy Joe DuPree in Dallas before signing with Washington in 1976.

Joey Galloway, WR, Ohio State, 2000-03

Statistics: Galloway caught 151 passes for 2341 yards and 12 TDs.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas made the worst trade in franchise history when it gave up two first-round picks in 2000 to acquire Galloway. He was injured for all but one quarter of the 2000 season, and though he showed occasional flashes over the next three years, he was never worth what Dallas gave up to get him. He revitalized his career when he left for Tampa Bay.

Keith Jennings, TE, Clemson, 1989

Statistics: Jennings caught six passes for 47 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a backup in Dallas but went on to become a starter with the Bears.

Pettis Norman, TE, J.C. Smith, 1962-70

Statistics: Norman caught 124 passes for 1672 yards and 14 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played nine seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Norman was not a great receiver, but he was one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. He was part of the trade with San Diego that sent Lance Alworth to Dallas.

Jay Novacek, TE, Wyoming, 1990-95

Statistics: Novacek caught 339 passes for 3576 yards and 22 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He made five Pro Bowls and one All Pro team with the Cowboys.

Longevity: He played six seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Novacek via Plan B free agency in 1990, and he become one of the most important pieces of the Super Bowl teams of the 1990s. It is no coincidence that Troy Aikman’s effectiveness dropped significantly after the 1995 season when injuries forced Novacek to retire. His 339 career receptions rank eight on the team’s all-time list.

Gary Wisener, WR, Baylor, 1960

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Wisener was a wide receiver with Dallas. He converted to defensive back in 1961 with the Oilers, but that was his last season in pro football.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #85.

Greatest #84

  • Jay Novacek (90%, 200 Votes)
  • Doug Cosbie (6%, 14 Votes)
  • Patrick Crayton (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Jean Fugett (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Rich Borresen (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Joey Galloway (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Keith Jennings (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Pettis Norman (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Gary Wisener (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 222

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My Vote: Novacek

Jay Novacek

Although I very recently acknowledged that Jason Witten is the greatest tight end in team history, Novacek is the best of this group. He was Troy Aikman’s security blanket, and until Witten came alone, Dallas spent years trying to replace Novacek.

Here is a video clip of the former decathlete:

Cosbie was pretty close to Novacek in terms of his skills. Norman was more of a blocker, so he does not tend to get the credit he deserves for what he brought to the field during the 1960s. Crayton has some making-up to do this year.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #84

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #84

Nine players have worn #84 for the Cowboys. This includes six tight ends and three wide receivers.

Rich Borresen, TE, Northwestern, 1987

Statistics: Borresen had one kickoff return for five yards with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in the three replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Doug Cosbie, TE, Santa Clara, 1979-88

Statistics: Cosbie caught 300 passes for 3728 yards and 30 TDs with the Cowboys. He ranks ninth in franchise history in receptions.

Accolades: Cosbie was named to three Pro Bowls.

Longevity: He played ten seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Cosbie made people forget about Billy Joe DuPree, and before Novacek and Witten came along, Cosbie had a good argument for being the best tight end in team history. He caught the touchdown pass that gave Dallas a 27-21 lead in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.

Patrick Crayton, WR, NW Okla State, 2004-present

Statistics: Crayton has caugth 120 receptions for 1716 yards and 14 TDs

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He enters his fifth season in 2008.

Intangibles: Crayton was quite a find in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. He converted from college quarterback to receiver and became a solid second receiver in 2007. However, a huge drop and a mix-up in route-running cost the Cowboys in their playoff loss to the Giants last season.

Jean Fugett, TE, Amherst, 1972-75

Statistics: Fugett caught 58 passes for 810 yards and 7 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made the Pro Bowl with Washington.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: A few weeks ago, posted this video showing Fugett giving interviews before Super Bowl X. He was mostly a backup for Billy Joe DuPree in Dallas before signing with Washington in 1976.

Joey Galloway, WR, Ohio State, 2000-03

Statistics: Galloway caught 151 passes for 2341 yards and 12 TDs.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas made the worst trade in franchise history when it gave up two first-round picks in 2000 to acquire Galloway. He was injured for all but one quarter of the 2000 season, and though he showed occasional flashes over the next three years, he was never worth what Dallas gave up to get him. He revitalized his career when he left for Tampa Bay.

Keith Jennings, TE, Clemson, 1989

Statistics: Jennings caught six passes for 47 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: He was a backup in Dallas but went on to become a starter with the Bears.

Pettis Norman, TE, J.C. Smith, 1962-70

Statistics: Norman caught 124 passes for 1672 yards and 14 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played nine seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Norman was not a great receiver, but he was one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. He was part of the trade with San Diego that sent Lance Alworth to Dallas.

Jay Novacek, TE, Wyoming, 1990-95

Statistics: Novacek caught 339 passes for 3576 yards and 22 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He made five Pro Bowls and one All Pro team with the Cowboys.

Longevity: He played six seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Novacek via Plan B free agency in 1990, and he become one of the most important pieces of the Super Bowl teams of the 1990s. It is no coincidence that Troy Aikman’s effectiveness dropped significantly after the 1995 season when injuries forced Novacek to retire. His 339 career receptions rank eight on the team’s all-time list.

Gary Wisener, WR, Baylor, 1960

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Wisener was a wide receiver with Dallas. He converted to defensive back in 1961 with the Oilers, but that was his last season in pro football.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #85.

Greatest #84

  • Jay Novacek (90%, 200 Votes)
  • Doug Cosbie (6%, 14 Votes)
  • Patrick Crayton (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Jean Fugett (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Rich Borresen (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Joey Galloway (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Keith Jennings (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Pettis Norman (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Gary Wisener (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 222

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My Vote: Novacek

Jay Novacek

Although I very recently acknowledged that Jason Witten is the greatest tight end in team history, Novacek is the best of this group. He was Troy Aikman’s security blanket, and until Witten came alone, Dallas spent years trying to replace Novacek.

Here is a video clip of the former decathlete:

Cosbie was pretty close to Novacek in terms of his skills. Norman was more of a blocker, so he does not tend to get the credit he deserves for what he brought to the field during the 1960s. Crayton has some making-up to do this year.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #83

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #83

Fourteen players have worn #83 for the Cowboys. This includes eight wide receivers, two kickers, and four tight ends.

Mike Clark, K, Texas A&M, 1968-71, 1973

Statistics: Clark made 69 field goals out of 119 attempts.

Accolades: None with the Cowboys. He made the Pro Bowl with the Steelers.

Longevity: Clark played five seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: He made some clutch kicks during his career in Dallas, but he was also very erratic. Making 58% of his field goal attempt did not endear him to Cowboy fans.

Hayward Clay, TE, Texas A&M, 1998-99

Statistics: Clay caught one pass for 27 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than one full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Clay saw some action towards the end of the 1998 season. He was on the roster in 1999 but never played.

Harold Deters, K, North Carolina State, 1967

Statistics: Deters made one of four field goal attempts with Dallas.

Accolades: None, other than being part of the infamous Kicking Karavan in 1967.

Longevity: He played in three games with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Deters filled in for Danny Villanueva in 1967 but tanked by making just 25% of his four field goal attempts.

Doug Donley, WR, Ohio State, 1981-84

Statistics: Donley caught 55 passes for 898 yards and 4 TDs

Accolades:None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Donley was at one point the fastest receiver on the Cowboys, and he opened the 1984 season as the starter. However, injuries slowed him down, and he lost his job to Mike Renfro. The 1984 season was Donley’s last.

Jim Doran, WR, Iowa State, 1960-61

Statistics: Doran caught 44 passes for 707 yards and 5 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He was the team’s first Pro Bowl player.

Longevity: Doran played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Doran was a standout defensive end in Detroit who converted to offense. After nine seasons with the Lions, he was left unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft, and Dallas picked him up. He was a star in the team’s first game ever, catching touchdown passes of 75 and 54 yards.

Lee Folkins, TE, Washington, 1962-64

Statistics: Folkins caught 75 passes for 984 yards and 10 TDs.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl once as a Cowboy.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Folkins in 1962 in a trade with Green Bay. He started for two seasons but lost his starting job in 1964. Dallas traded him to Pittsburgh in 1965.

Terry Glenn, WR, Ohio State, 2003-07

Statistics: Glenn caught 208 passes for 3337 yards and 20 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Glenn resurrected his career in Dallas when he joined the club in 2003. In 2005 and 2006, he was a 1,000-yard receiver. However, he missed most of the 2007 season due to injury, and he was cut during preseason in 2008. He is not likely to return.

Leon Gonzalez, WR, Bethune-Cookman, 1985

Statistics: Gonzalez averaged 3.9 yards on 15 punt returns for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Nicknamed “Speedy,” he was a fast player who made the team in 1985 primarily as a punt returner. He suffered a foot injury towards the end of the 1985 season, which was his last in Dallas.

Kelvin Martin, WR, Boston College, 1987-92, 1996

Statistics: Martin caught 237 passes for 3083 yards and 9 TDs with the Cowboys. He also returned three punts for touchdowns in his career.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played a total of seven seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: “K-Mart” had some solid seasons early in his career, and he transitioned into a great slot receiver for the 1992 squad that won the Super Bowl. He caught the game-clinching touchdown after Alvin Harper’s 70-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. Martin left for Seattle via free agency in 1993, but he returned in 1996.

Wane McGarity, WR, Texas, 1999-01

Statistics: McGarity averaged 11.8 yards per punt return with the Cowboys and had two punt returns for touchdowns in 2000.

Accolades: None.

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

Intangibles: McGarity looked as if he were developing into a solid slot receiver, but the team released him after three games in 2001. He spent the rest of the season with New Orleans, but 2001 was his last year in the NFL.

Joey Mickey, TE, Oklahoma, 1993

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Mickey was a backup tight end who seldom saw action.

Anthony Miller, WR, Tennessee, 1997

Statistics: Miller caught 46 passes for 645 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made five Pro Bowls with San Diego and Denver.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Miller was one of many disappointments in 1997. He was brought in to complement Michael Irvin, but he had lost speed and playmaking ability by the time he arrived in Dallas.

Golden Richards, WR, Hawaii, 1973-78

Statistics: Richard caught 90 passes for 1650 yards and 16 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Richards had some huge plays in Dallas as both a receiver and a punt returner. After catching 26 passes for 467 yards in 1974, though, his numbers steadily declined. He was often injured, and after losing his starting job to Tony Hill in 1978, he was sent to Chicago.

Kendell Watkins, TE, Mississippi State, 1995

Statistics: Watkins caught one pass for eight yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Watkins was a blocking tight end on the 1995 championship squad.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #83.

Greatest #83

  • Terry Glenn (41%, 54 Votes)
  • Golden Richards (33%, 44 Votes)
  • Kelvin Martin (23%, 31 Votes)
  • Mike Clark (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Doug Donley (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Wane McGarity (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Anthony Miller (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Joey Mickey (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Leon Gonzalez (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Lee Folkins (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jim Doran (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Harold Deters (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Hayward Clay (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kendell Watkins (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 133

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My Vote: Glenn

According to a poll that I ran about a month ago, Glenn ranks among such receivers as Tony Hill and Frank Clarke. When healthy, he was a great playmaker who never lost a step.

Here is a great highlight clip put together by Carl of The Blue and Silver:

There were several other high quality players, including Pro Bowlers like Doran and Folkins and role players such as Richards and Martin. My vote for Glenn is based largely on productivity.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #83

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #83

Fourteen players have worn #83 for the Cowboys. This includes eight wide receivers, two kickers, and four tight ends.

Mike Clark, K, Texas A&M, 1968-71, 1973

Statistics: Clark made 69 field goals out of 119 attempts.

Accolades: None with the Cowboys. He made the Pro Bowl with the Steelers.

Longevity: Clark played five seasons with Dallas.

Intangibles: He made some clutch kicks during his career in Dallas, but he was also very erratic. Making 58% of his field goal attempt did not endear him to Cowboy fans.

Hayward Clay, TE, Texas A&M, 1998-99

Statistics: Clay caught one pass for 27 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than one full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Clay saw some action towards the end of the 1998 season. He was on the roster in 1999 but never played.

Harold Deters, K, North Carolina State, 1967

Statistics: Deters made one of four field goal attempts with Dallas.

Accolades: None, other than being part of the infamous Kicking Karavan in 1967.

Longevity: He played in three games with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Deters filled in for Danny Villanueva in 1967 but tanked by making just 25% of his four field goal attempts.

Doug Donley, WR, Ohio State, 1981-84

Statistics: Donley caught 55 passes for 898 yards and 4 TDs

Accolades:None.

Longevity: He played four seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Donley was at one point the fastest receiver on the Cowboys, and he opened the 1984 season as the starter. However, injuries slowed him down, and he lost his job to Mike Renfro. The 1984 season was Donley’s last.

Jim Doran, WR, Iowa State, 1960-61

Statistics: Doran caught 44 passes for 707 yards and 5 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: He was the team’s first Pro Bowl player.

Longevity: Doran played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Doran was a standout defensive end in Detroit who converted to offense. After nine seasons with the Lions, he was left unprotected in the 1960 expansion draft, and Dallas picked him up. He was a star in the team’s first game ever, catching touchdown passes of 75 and 54 yards.

Lee Folkins, TE, Washington, 1962-64

Statistics: Folkins caught 75 passes for 984 yards and 10 TDs.

Accolades: He was named to the Pro Bowl once as a Cowboy.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Folkins in 1962 in a trade with Green Bay. He started for two seasons but lost his starting job in 1964. Dallas traded him to Pittsburgh in 1965.

Terry Glenn, WR, Ohio State, 2003-07

Statistics: Glenn caught 208 passes for 3337 yards and 20 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played five seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Glenn resurrected his career in Dallas when he joined the club in 2003. In 2005 and 2006, he was a 1,000-yard receiver. However, he missed most of the 2007 season due to injury, and he was cut during preseason in 2008. He is not likely to return.

Leon Gonzalez, WR, Bethune-Cookman, 1985

Statistics: Gonzalez averaged 3.9 yards on 15 punt returns for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Nicknamed “Speedy,” he was a fast player who made the team in 1985 primarily as a punt returner. He suffered a foot injury towards the end of the 1985 season, which was his last in Dallas.

Kelvin Martin, WR, Boston College, 1987-92, 1996

Statistics: Martin caught 237 passes for 3083 yards and 9 TDs with the Cowboys. He also returned three punts for touchdowns in his career.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played a total of seven seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: “K-Mart” had some solid seasons early in his career, and he transitioned into a great slot receiver for the 1992 squad that won the Super Bowl. He caught the game-clinching touchdown after Alvin Harper’s 70-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter. Martin left for Seattle via free agency in 1993, but he returned in 1996.

Wane McGarity, WR, Texas, 1999-01

Statistics: McGarity averaged 11.8 yards per punt return with the Cowboys and had two punt returns for touchdowns in 2000.

Accolades: None.

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

Intangibles: McGarity looked as if he were developing into a solid slot receiver, but the team released him after three games in 2001. He spent the rest of the season with New Orleans, but 2001 was his last year in the NFL.

Joey Mickey, TE, Oklahoma, 1993

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Mickey was a backup tight end who seldom saw action.

Anthony Miller, WR, Tennessee, 1997

Statistics: Miller caught 46 passes for 645 yards and 4 TDs with Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He made five Pro Bowls with San Diego and Denver.

Longevity: He played one season with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Miller was one of many disappointments in 1997. He was brought in to complement Michael Irvin, but he had lost speed and playmaking ability by the time he arrived in Dallas.

Golden Richards, WR, Hawaii, 1973-78

Statistics: Richard caught 90 passes for 1650 yards and 16 TDs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played six seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: Richards had some huge plays in Dallas as both a receiver and a punt returner. After catching 26 passes for 467 yards in 1974, though, his numbers steadily declined. He was often injured, and after losing his starting job to Tony Hill in 1978, he was sent to Chicago.

Kendell Watkins, TE, Mississippi State, 1995

Statistics: Watkins caught one pass for eight yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Watkins was a blocking tight end on the 1995 championship squad.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #83.

Greatest #83

  • Terry Glenn (41%, 54 Votes)
  • Golden Richards (33%, 44 Votes)
  • Kelvin Martin (23%, 31 Votes)
  • Mike Clark (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Doug Donley (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Wane McGarity (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Anthony Miller (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Joey Mickey (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Leon Gonzalez (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Lee Folkins (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jim Doran (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Harold Deters (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Hayward Clay (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kendell Watkins (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 133

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My Vote: Glenn

According to a poll that I ran about a month ago, Glenn ranks among such receivers as Tony Hill and Frank Clarke. When healthy, he was a great playmaker who never lost a step.

Here is a great highlight clip put together by Carl of The Blue and Silver:

There were several other high quality players, including Pro Bowlers like Doran and Folkins and role players such as Richards and Martin. My vote for Glenn is based largely on productivity.

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.

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.

Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #81

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #81

Fifteen players have worn #81 for the Cowboys. This includes 12 wide receivers, two tight ends, and a punter.

Scott Ankrom, WR, Texas Christian, 1989

Statistics: Ankrom returned two kickoffs with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas tried Ankrom on both offense and defense in 1989, but he was unable to stick around.

Tyji Armstrong, TE, Mississippi, 1996

Statistics: Armstrong caught two passes for 10 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Armstrong was primarily a blocking tight end.

Marv Bateman, P, Utah, 1972-74

Statistics: Bateman averaged 39.3 yards per punt with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Bateman had several injury problems during his time in Dallas.

Vince Courville, WR, Rice, 1987

Statistics: n/a

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played in two of the replacement games in 1987.

Intangibles: n/a

Kelvin Edwards, WR, Liberty, 1987-88

Statistics: Edwards caught 39 passes for 614 yards and three touchdowns with Dallas.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played two seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Edwards first saw action during the replacement games in 1987, and he later became a starter with the regulars. He suffered a terrible knee injury in 1988, however, and did not play again.

Percy Howard, WR, Austin Peay, 1975

Statistics: Howard never had a regular season catch, but he caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in Super Bowl X.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Howard was injured during preseason in 1976 and never played pro football again.

Billy Howton, WR, Rice, 1960-63

Statistics: Howton caught 161 passes for 2368 yards and 17 touchdowns in Dallas.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Howton played four seasons with the Cowboys.

Intangibles: At one time, Howton was the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, as he surpassed Don Hutson. He was a starter with Dallas during the early years of the franchise.

Raghib Ismail, WR, Notre Dame, 1999-01

Statistics: Ismail caught 158 passes for 2281 yards and 9 TDs.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: He played three seasons in Dallas.

Intangibles: Rocket got off to a great start in Dallas, catching a touchdown pass in overtime to give the Cowboys a win over the Redskins in the 1999 season opener. He gained more than 1,000 yards that year, but he suffered through injuries in 2000 and caught on 25 passes. He was certainly a playmaker but came along at the time when the team was in serious decline.

Patrick Jeffers, WR, Virginia, 1998

Statistics: Jeffers caught 18 passes for 330 yards and 2 TDs.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: The Cowboys acquired Jeffers in 1998, and he showed great promise late in the 1998 season. Carolina signed him in 1999, though, and he gained more than 1,000 yards with the Panthers. His career tapered off after that.

Quincy Morgan, WR, Kansas State, 2004-05

Statistics: Morgan caught 22 receptions for 260 yards.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played less than a full season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas acquired Morgan as part of the trade that sent Antonio Bryant to Cleveland in 2004. Morgan saw action in the receiver rotation with Dallas, but he joined the Steelers in 2005.

Terrell Owens, WR, Tenn-Chat., 2006-07

Statistics: Owens has caught 166 passes for 2535 yards and 28 TDs.

Accolades: He earned Pro Bowl and All Pro honors in 2007. He has been named to a total of six Pro Bowls during his career.

Longevity: He will enter his third season with the Cowboys in 2008.

Intangibles: Few players in team history have been as productive during a two-year stretch as Owens in 2006 and 2007. He is even showing signs of leadership, and at age 35, does not appear to be slowing down.

Kirk Phillips, WR, Tulsa, 1984

Statistics: Phillips caught one pass for six yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Phillips saw action early in the 1984 season due to injuries to some starters, but he was released after the season was over.

Karl Powe, WR, Alabama State, 1985-86

Statistics: Powe caught 14 passes for 237 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

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

Intangibles: Powe showed promise in 1985, but a neck injury suffered in the first week of the 1986 season ended his career.

Jackie Smith, TE, Northwest Louisiana, 1978

Statistics: Smith caught 480 regular season passes during his career with the Cardinals. He caught no regular season passes with Dallas, and though he had some playoff receptions in 1978, we know him for one big drop.

Accolades: None with Dallas. He is now in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Longevity: He played one season in Dallas.

Intangibles: Dallas signed Smith in 1978 to back up Billy Joe DuPree when Jay Saldi was injured. Bless his heart, Smith became the sickest man in America when he dropped a sure touchdown pass in the third quarter of Super Bowl XIII when the Cowboys trailed the Steelers 21-14.

Alexander Wright, WR, Auburn, 1990-92

Statistics: Wright caught 21 passes for 274 yards with the Cowboys.

Accolades: None.

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

Intangibles: Wright won the competition as the league’s fastest man, but he developed too slowly for Dallas and was traded to Los Angeles during the 1992 season. I have no idea why I remember, this, but when Wright was with the Raiders, Chris Berman nicknamed him Alexander “If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be” Wright.

Poll

Here is your chance to vote for the greatest player to wear #81.

Greatest #81

  • Terrell Owens (92%, 181 Votes)
  • Raghib Ismail (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Jackie Smith (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Billy Howton (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Karl Powe (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Scott Ankrom (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Marv Bateman (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tyji Armstrong (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Alexander Wright (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Percy Howard (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kelvin Edwards (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Patrick Jeffers (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Quincy Morgan (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Vince Courville (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Kirk Phillips (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 197

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My Vote: Owens

Terrell OwensTwo years ago, I would have never believed that I could vote for Owens as the greatest anything in team history. A year ago, I would have found a reason not to vote for him. This year, he’s shown that he still has enough in the tank to be an elite receiver, and if we didn’t know how valuable he was before his injury late last year, we knew afterward. The big question for the rest of this decade is how long he can keep this up.

Ismail and Howton were productive receivers during their time in Dallas and deserve mention. The others were mostly backups.