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Winning the Heisman Trophy in college doesn’t automatically translate into a successful NFL career. However, the Dallas Cowboys have had five former Heisman Trophy winners wear their uniforms through the years. They include Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Vinny Testaverde, and Eddie George.
The first three spent either their entire careers with the Cowboys or their most productive seasons there. This article then will focus on their accomplishments while wearing the Cowboy jersey.
Roger Staubach, 1963
After graduating from Navy, Staubach served his military commitment and joined Dallas as a rookie at the age of 27 in 1969. He was drafted in the 10th round as the 129th overall pick. He was selected to the Pro bowl six times and was the MVP of Super Bowl VI in 1972 after completing 12 of 19 passes for two touchdowns and rushing for 18 yards. He led Dallas to two Super Bowl titles during his eleven year NFL career and was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
In his final NFL season in 1979, Staubach set a number of career highs. He completed 267 passes which also gave him a career high in passing yards for 3,586. That same year he also completed a career high 27 touchdown passes. In total, Staubach played 11 seasons during which he made 1,685 completions for 22,700 yards with 153 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 410 times to score 21 touchdowns.
Tony Dorsett, 1976
Dorsett was the second pick of the first round in the 1977 draft. He originally signed a five year contract worth $1.1 million, the second largest rookie contract to date at that time. He was worth it. In his rookie year he rushed for 1,007 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, earning him Rookie of the Year. He became a starter in the tenth game of his rookie season and remained so for many years thereafter. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl his freshman year with a victory over the Denver Broncos, 27 – 10.
In his second season, Dorsett rushed for 1,325 yards and nine touchdowns. The Cowboys went to the Super Bowl again but lost to the Steelers 35 – 31. In 1981, Dorsett had his best year with 1,646 yards. In 1988 he was traded to the Broncos and retired before the 1989 season because of injuries. All told, Dorsett had a career total of 12,036 yards as a Dallas Cowboy, made the Pro Bowl 4 times, and was elected to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Herschel Walker, 1982
Walker was drafted by the Cowboys in the 5th round in 1986 after playing three years in the United States Football League. For his first two years he shared the backfield with another Heisman winner, Tony Dorsett. In 1988 Walker reached his career high rushing total with 1,514 yards along with 505 receiving yards. This made him just the 10th player in NFL history to have over 2,000 combined yards in a season.
Walker was selected to two consecutive Pro Bowls in 1987 and 1988 before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and six draft picks. After stints with the Vikings, Eagles and New York Giants, Walker was again wearing the Dallas uniform in 1996 as a kickoff return specialist. He retired at the end of the 1997 season.
Author: Dennis Phoenix is an avid sports fanatic and human resource specialist. He writes primarily on topics ranging from business relationships to employee satisfaction for Able Trophies, a supplier of glass awardsand acrylic awards. He spends his weekends watching sports or mountain biking.