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Cowboys CTK: Calvin Hill Rushes His Way To #35

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Calvin Hills Rushes His Way To #35 6

There is football happening today. After you scarf the burgers you're grilling and wash them down with some of the best brew you can find, a pigskin will fly high in the air and down into our arms as we have waited far too long for it to return!

Football season is here. That brew tastes a lot better now, doesn't it? The Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers are fine and dandy, but what about our ‘Boys? When are we getting down to business? 35 days. That’s 5 weeks! That’s how long you let milk last in your fridge (or is that only me?) - it’s that close!

Go back to the fridge and grab some cold ones for everybody. We’ve got 5 weeks of waiting to do and we’re going to gather round, give a toast, and listen to a story about the Greatest 35 in Dallas Cowboys History as we continue our Countdown To Kickoff.

The Following Players Have All Worn 35 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Tra Battle, CB
  • Robert Chancey, RB
  • Wendell Davis, CB
  • Peter Gent, WR
  • Troy Hambrick, RB
  • Calvin Hill, RB
  • Walt Kowalzyk, FB
  • Scott Laidlaw, RB
  • J.W. Lockett, FB
  • Jason McKie, FB
  • Chuck McSwain, RB
  • Lonyae Miller, RB
  • Jacques Reeves, CB
  • Kevin Scott, RB

If you didn’t know, back when current Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spent his days on a college campus, he spent those days at Princeton University. He’s one of those edumacated couches. I think that brew is starting to effect me.

Prior to the 1969 NFL Draft nobody figured Ivy League schools to have solid football players, just bookworms. The Dallas Cowboys changed all of that when they took the first Ivy Leaguer ever to be drafted in the first round.

Calvin Hill

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Calvin Hills Rushes His Way To #35 1

Considered an athlete above all else, the Cowboys wanted to make sure that they used Calvin Hill the right way… so they tried him out at linebacker and tight end.

With Don Perkins retired and a struggling Dan Reeves the Cowboys also found themselves thin at the running back position. They turned to their superstar rookie athlete.

"Hi, Calvin! Want to play running back for the Dallas Cowboys? You know, that position that you played a majority of your college career? That whole linebacker thing, yea that's our bad."

Run, Calvin, Run!

Hill never surrendered the starting running back position once he took it. He immediately became a rookie standout in the NFL, churning his way to 807 yards in his first 9 games. In that ninth game, a contest against the Washington Redskins, Calvin actually hurt his toe while amassing 150 yards.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Calvin Hills Rushes His Way To #35 2

The team would find out over the next two games, in which Hill sat out, that the toe was actually broken. No harm, no foul, Calvin Hill was a man of steel and he just took an injection to his toe so he could play the final two games of the season. It doesn’t get much more hardcore than an injection to the toe.

942 yards, 8 touchdowns, a First-Team All-Pro Selection, a Pro Bowl Selection, and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award all found themselves attached to Calvin Hill after his rookie year. Welcome to the NFL, young man.

Hill Valley

The Dallas Cowboys drafted another running back in 1970, this one by the name of Duane Thomas. The new guy in town showed some promise and took over the starting role. Calvin found himself bothered by a foot blister in 1970 and was only able to produce 577 yards.

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1971 wasn't too kind to Calvin, either. He tore his ACL against the New York Giants. Medical technology wasn't what it is today and this was initially diagnosed as a sprained knee - can you believe that? Hill tried to return later in the year, but he re-injured his knee while scoring a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game over the Minnesota Vikings.

After wearing out his welcome in Dallas, Duane Thomas found himself traded to the San Diego Chargers to begin the 1972 NFL contest. As it had been his rookie year, the stage was once again set for Calvin Hill to save the running back position for the Dallas Cowboys.

Pro Bowl Bound

Calvin found his rookie form during 1972 as he became the first running back in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Calvin Hills Rushes His Way To #35 3

He followed that up with a career high 1,142 in 1973 and a respectable 844 in 1974. Calvin packed his bags at the end of each of those seasons as he made the trip to the NFL’s Pro Bowl in all three.

#35: Calvin Hill

While only playing 6 seasons in the blue and silver, Calvin Hill certainly made his mark. He put together 5,009 yards and 39 touchdowns, while earning many personal accolades as well as a Super Bowl Ring during the 1971 season.

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IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 18: Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Dallas Cowboys talks with Calvin Hill after a 28-23 win against the Washington Redskins at Texas Stadium November 18, 2007 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Calvin Hill is still helping the Cowboys win football games as he serves as a consultant to the team who specializes in working with troubled players. Considering sports in general, Calvin contributed in that department by fathering one of the greatest basketball players we’ve ever seen, Grant Hill.

The Cowboys of the 1970s and the Cowboys of today are far better off due to the services of Calvin Hill. He was a critical element to the elite offense that the Dallas Cowboys possessed in the 1970s, and he is even more critical to our Countdown To Kickoff as he is the Greatest 35 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 34 in Dallas Cowboys History is!


Want to share your opinions on who should be featured on our Countdown To Kickoff? Email me at rjochoa@insidethestar.com or Tweet @rjochoa.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys CTK: Calvin Hill Rushes His Way To #35" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Star Blog

Will Terrance Williams’ Run Of Bad Luck Continue?

Brian Martin

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If Suspended, Will Cowboys Cut Ties With Terrance Williams?

To say that Terrance Williams has had a run of bad luck recently would be an understatement. First he breaks his foot, which kept him out of all of the offseason practices so far. Then, he ends up getting arrested on an intoxication charge, a Class C misdemeanor, on May 19 after crashing his Lamborghini into a light pole. Unfortunately for him, his bad luck could continue with training camp approaching because he could be looking at a demotion.

As things stand right now, I have a hard time seeing Williams being any more than the fourth wide receiver on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart. I have him behind Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and rookie Michael Gallup (in that order) right now, possibly falling even further. For now, I'll pencil him in at WR4 though.

I believe a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans wouldn't be too terribly upset if we don't see a lot of Terrance Williams in 2018. Fans have been unhappy with Williams for quite some time and many voiced their displeasure when the Cowboys signed him to a contract extension last offseason. But, he is still on the roster, which means we should probably expect him to stick around for at least one more season.

There is a cloud still hanging over Williams' head though. His intoxication arrest is still an open case and the league could decide to discipline/suspend him for breaking the NFL's conduct policy. That could impact his availability to start the season, which could ultimately determine where he exactly fits in on offense in 2018.

I know, it's a lot to take in, but that's how things stand right now and I don't things get much clearer when training camp gets underway. But, let's try to dive into this little deeper to try to determine what to expect from T-Will this year.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

As I mentioned earlier, I believe Hurns, Beasley, and Gallup are the top three Cowboys receivers this year. If that proves to be true, Williams is looking at demotion. He may be nothing more than an insurance policy in case of injury.

Terrance Williams does have something going in his favor though. He has the coaching staffs trust, which means he could reprise the same role we have seen from him in the past. But, that's where his potential suspension comes into play.

If Williams is indeed suspended, that would give more opportunities to other WRs on the roster to prove themselves, particularly Michael Gallup and Noah Brown. I think these are the two receivers who could have the biggest impact on Williams' offensive role this season.

Gallup will without a doubt receive every opportunity to prove he's ready to hit the ground running as a rookie. I think he will be successful, which is why I have him ahead of Williams on the depth chart to begin with. Noah Brown on the other hand is the wild card here.

I'm a big fan of Noah Brown's. I believe he can adequately replace Williams as both a receiver in the passing game and as a blocker in the running game, something the coaching staff really values about Williams. I think he has a chance to leapfrog T-Will on the depth chart, but he's really going to have to have a good training camp to do that.

Having said all that, I still don't know exactly where Terrance Williams will fit offensively for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, but I think his bad luck will continue. I think he should probably just be an insurance policy in case of injuries, but will have to wait to see if the coaching staff agrees.

Do you think Terrance Williams' bad luck continues?



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Star Blog

Alternate Universe: Where Would Cowboys Be With RB DeMarco Murray?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - Dez Bryant To DeMarco Murray: "Come On Home" 1

During the Spring of 2015 the Dallas Cowboys faced what most considered a difficult decision.

Following an unexpectedly successful 12-4 season in which the Cowboys won just their second playoff game since 1996, two of the team's main offensive weapons were set to hit free agency.

On one hand was wide receiver Dez Bryant, coming off of a career year and widely considered a top wide out in this talent-rich league. On the other hand was running back DeMarco Murray, also coming off of a career year in which he led the NFL in rushing yards.

Could the Cowboys afford to pay the somewhat aging running back in this NFL economy? Could they place a premier price tag on a wide receiver despite their run-first, ball control mentality?

Of course, this wasn't exactly an either/or situation, but the Cowboys did re-sign Bryant to a lucrative deal and allowed Murray to walk to Philadelphia.

Now Fast forward to 2018.

Neither Murray nor Bryant are on the Cowboys, Tony Romo is broadcasting for CBS, and Dallas has spent a top five overall pick on replacing Murray at running back.

DeMarco Murray announced his retirement from football last week, making much of Cowboys Nation (including myself) think back upon those Romo-era teams.

And it's really hard not to wonder, where would the Cowboys have gone if they decided to keep DeMarco Murray? Where would they be had they re-signed Murray, rather than spending a premium pick on Ezekiel Elliott a year later.

If we're being honest, Elliott is a much more dynamic runner than Murray ever was. He brings more explosion and reliability to the offense, and is arguably the best back in football. Even when Murray was the league's leading rusher, this really couldn't be said about him.

There's not much of a chance that DeMarco Murray would still be a productive RB1 in Dallas heading into 2018. His play significantly dropped over the years in Tennessee, even behind their solid offensive line.

Of course the value of the running back position has been devalued as of late, making the Cowboys selection of Elliott a questionable one to some around the league. Paying the league's leading rusher what they would've had to pay him back in 2015, however, would have been even more questionable.

Plus, the Cowboys were able to replace much of Murray's production in 2015 with Darren McFadden, even if the team didn't win nearly as many games.

There might be an alternative universe out there where Tennessee's Murray and Derrick Henry-led backfield existed in Dallas, but Cowboys fans are certainly not upset about having Ezekiel Elliott in a Cowboys uniform.

Even if it took them a top five pick to seal the deal.



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Star Blog

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When people consider whether the Dallas Cowboys should trade for Seattle Seahawks' Safety Earl Thomas, one rebuttal fans throw out there is his age, and for good reason. People get concerned about handing out contract extensions to players entering their age-29 season.

In the salary cap era of the NFL, it typically isn't good business to pay age as the team often doesn't get the value out of the player that the contract expects.

One position where I feel that isn't necessarily the case is at the safety position. Let's consider Earl Thomas' accolades for a moment and see if we can find some correlations.

Earl Thomas, in his eight-year career, has been to the Pro Bowl six times, missing out his rookie season and in 2016 when he only played 11 games. He's been selected to the NFL All-Pro's first team three times in consecutive years from 2012 to 2015.

So, let's go over to our friends at Pro Football Reference and see which other safeties have been to the Pro Bowl at least six times and have been selected as a first team All-Pro player three times.

Here's the list:

Considering an Earl Thomas Extension, Age is just a Number

The first thing you'll notice is the elite players on the list along with Earl Thomas. The likes of Rod Woodson, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Aeneas Williams, and Charles Woodson. Those are just the players whose career extended into 2000s.

Then if you consider Ronnie Lott and Cliff Harris, that's some amazing company.

The players with an asterisk are the players that are in the Hall of Fame. Reed, Polamalu, and Woodson will be in the Hall of Fame. Cliff Harris not being in the Hall of Fame is still an NFL injustice that needs to be righted as he was one of the key cogs to the success of the Doomsday Defense of the 1970s.

I know Deion Sanders is on the list, and he's only there because he did play some safety toward the tail end of his career, but we know that it was as a corner that Deion made his money. The key though is that Deion's switch to safety at the end allowed him to prolong his career.

Removing Earl from the discussion for a moment, the average length of the careers of the men mentioned above was 13.41 years. The longest career was Charles Woodson at 18 years followed by Deion at 17 and Brian Dawkins at 16 years. The shortest careers were the 10-year careers of Cliff Harris and Joey Browner.

So, if Earl Thomas, having played eight years, played to the short end of the career length, he'd still have another two years left, this season included. If he played to the average length of those listed above, he'd have another five years left.

Considering that half of the players listed above all played longer than the average, there's a good chance that Earl Thomas has another six to seven years left in his career.

So, when we think about an extension for Earl Thomas, we have to consider the fact that for someone who has had the career that he's had to this point, he's going to be able to play at a good to great level for the life of a four-year extension.

Earl Thomas is an elite player and is on track to one day be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

If the Dallas Cowboys could add that to their young and developing defense for the next four years, they shouldn't worry about his age.

Obviously, anything can happen, and people may point to him missing games in each of the last two seasons, but prior to 2016, Earl Thomas played and started 100% of his team's games. That's a six season stretch of being available for every single game.

For a team that is really close to contention and has the makings of an elite defense, Earl Thomas could be the missing piece that could put them over the top, much like Charles Haley did for the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty of the 1990s.

Don't let the age thing distract you from adding one of the best safeties in the NFL and one of the best players in the league. Earl Thomas to the Dallas Cowboys just makes too much sense not to do it, and for the All-Pro safety, age is just a number.



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