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Dallas Cowboys History: Jason Witten Is Easily Greatest #82 Ever

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys History: Jason Witten Is Easily Greatest 82 Ever 2

There are officially 82 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

We are coming in hot on the NFL season. It’s the time of year where front offices take vacations and storylines are so crazy that you’d think this was the NBA. There is no offseason here at Inside The Star so buckle up and enjoy a fresh baked heap of Cowboys-ness for you, today we reveal the Greatest 82 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The following players have all worn 82 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Chris Brazell, WR
  • Cornell Burbage, WR
  • Franke Clark, WR
  • Cory Fleming, WR
  • Alvin Harper, WR (Yes, Harper wore 82 for Dallas in 1999)
  • Tony McGee, TE
  • James McKnight, WR
  • Johnny Mitchell, TE
  • Jeff Ogden, WR
  • Beasley Reece, DB
  • Mike Renfro, WR
  • Derrick Shepard, WR
  • Cleo Simmons, TE
  • Jimmy Smith, WR
  • Otto Stowe, WR
  • Jason Witten*, TE

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

I’m not going to jive you here, this is not a competition. The Greatest 82 in Dallas Cowboys History is exactly who you think it is, but we need to give a bit of props first.

Jimmy Smith is one of the more underrated receivers in NFL History. He is the all-time leading receiver in Jacksonville Jaguars History. While he hardly played for the Cowboys, it’s pretty cool that the leading receivers for another NFL team donned the 82 here.

Frank Clarke was the ultimate badass. He was named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was one of the very first Dallas Cowboys ever, taken in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft. While he took a while to get going, Frank was the first true deep threat that the Cowboys had, Bob Hayes has even credited Clarke with improving his own deep threat ability. He put together a streak in 1961 where he caught a touchdown in seven straight games. Bob Hayes himself tied this in 1965/1966, Terrell Owens did it in 2007, and current Cowboy Dez Bryant did it in 2012. Frank Clarke was so stone cold awesome that one of his records lasted all the way until 2014. Clarke had the most career receiving multi-touchdown games (9), which Dez Bryant broke last season. Bravo, Frank Clarke!

It is not just undeniable, it is not just non-debatable, it is a fact of life in the same way that water is wet that the Greatest 82 in Dallas Cowboys History is Jason Witten.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys History: Jason Witten Is Easily Greatest 82 Ever

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys signals for a first down against the New Orleans Saints in the first half at AT&T Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 504248669 ORIG FILE ID: 456297934

His resume is LOADED. In 12 years Witten’s biggest, and believe me there are plenty, accolades include:

  • 943 career receptions (most in Dallas Cowboys History)
  • 10,502 receiving yards (second most in Dallas Cowboys History)
  • 57 career touchdowns (third most in Dallas Cowboys History)
  • 10 Pro Bowl Selections (all in the last 11 years)
  • 2 First-Team All-Pro Selections
  • 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
  • 191 games played (second most in Dallas Cowboys History among pass catchers), with 181 starts
  • On December 9th, 2007 in Detroit against the Lions, Witten tied Kellen Winslow Sr. for the most catches by a tight end in an NFL game (15)
Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys History: Jason Witten Is Easily Greatest 82 Ever 1

Left to Right: Myself, Jason Witten, and my Dad one week after #82's record-setting performance in Detroit in 2007


Witten is everything that you want in a football player. He works hard, he plays hard, he’s a leader among his teammates, he’s a leader in the community (as exemplified by his Walter Payton Man of the Year Award), he is a role model, and he never quits. He is Tony Romo’s best friend and has served as his security blanket on many a third down. He, along with Romo, has helped keep the Cowboys at a competitive level for the last decade and it would be fitting for a player of Witten’s stature to finish his career with a Super Bowl Victory among his accomplishments.

Jason Witten is not just the Greatest 82 in Dallas Cowboys History; he is arguably the Greatest Player in Dallas Cowboys History. Don’t think so? Tony Romo disagrees with you. Witten has been the definition of excellence in his time in Dallas. He has all the records, all the statistics, and someday he will put on a Gold Jacket and enter the hallowed halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 81 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys History: Jason Witten Is Easily Greatest #82 Ever" in the comments below. You can also email me at, 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!

Star Blog

Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys

Jess Haynie



Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys

Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.

The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.

Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.

Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.

Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.

Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys 1

Hall of Fame CB Deion Sanders

Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.

The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.

Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.

The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.

The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.

Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys 2

Norv Turner also couldn't bring his Cowboys success to Washington. (Brian Bahr/Allsport)

The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.

Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history

Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.

Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.

~ ~ ~

Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.

Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.

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Star Blog

Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?

Brian Martin



Cowboys Have Their Version of Tryann Mathieu in Xavier Woods?

It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.

Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.

The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.

Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.

Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys DB Xavier Woods

It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.

I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.

Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.

As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.

His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.

Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys DB Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.

Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.

As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.

Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.

Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?

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Star Blog

Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins

Jess Haynie



Orlando Scandrick

Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.

By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.

Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.

Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.

Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.

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