We're officially 45 days until the Dallas Cowboys open their season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. While that matchup sounds super exciting (especially with the recent signing of WR Julio Jones), another thing that gives similar vibes is today's post.
Also, it's Friday!!!
So, while you get up this morning and hopefully make some breakfast tacos and coffee, here is a Countdown to Kickoff post to go along with it. And to be even more generous, if you missed yesterday's piece on the Greatest #46 in Dallas Cowboys History, check it out here.
With that in mind, let's get to rock and rollin' and look at why CB Manny Hendrix is today's rockstar at #45.
But of course, before we cheer for Mr. Hendrix during his solo act, here are all the players who have worn #45:
- Shaun Chapas, FB (2011-2011)
- Dick Daniels, FS (1966-1967)
- L.G. Dupre, RB (1960-1961)
- Richmond Flowers, SS (1969-1971)
- Manny Hendrix, CB (1986-1991)
- Sewo Olonilua, RB (2020-2022)
- Larry Robinson, RB (1973-1973)
- Rod Smith, RB (2015-2018)
- Mike Solwold, C, (2001-2001)
- Nicky Sualua, RB (1997-1998)
- Steve Wilson, CB (1980-1981)
- Rolly Woolsey, CB (1975-1975)
From One “Genre” to Another
While (Manny) Hendrix wasn't a rockstar in music like rock legend Jimi Hendrix, Hendrix showed he was a rockstar on the hardwood. Before Hendrix ever made it to the NFL, he was an All-American basketball player, who committed to Utah, and played all four years as a starter.
His biggest Utah highlight arguably was helping the Utes reach the Sweet 16 in 1983 before losing to eventual National Champion, NC State. You would imagine a four-year starter who averaged 15.8 points in his senior season would have a chance in the NBA, but because of his height (5'10), scouts didn't give him a shot in the league.
The next steps in his life led him to the Dallas Cowboys, as Dallas scout Charles Mackey had once seen Hendrix (who was described as a freak athlete his whole life) during his college career at Utah beat RB Del Rogers in a 40-yard dash, so the interest was there for him to tryout out football.
Although Hendrix hadn't played football since high school, he got a training camp invite and balled out enough to get signed by the Cowboys as UDFA in 1986, as the franchise hoped he could be another basketball player they could convert successfully into a solid contributor.
Spoiler alert: He was one. Although he wasn't the most uber-talented guy, he did his job.
In his six-year NFL career, Hendrix's stats fluctuated as he never got the opportunity to be a full-time starter until 1990, but during his early years, he averaged 16.5 tackles per season.
His best outing came in his first year as a starter, as he put together 65 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, and one QB pressure. But, following his breakout year, Hendrix lost his job to CB rookie Larry Brown after the third game of the season and got cut once the season finished.
(Side Note: Yes, it's the same Larry Brown who helped the franchise win 3 Super Bowl titles and snagged himself an SB MVP along the way. So in a way, Hendrix's cut helped the team.)
While Hendrix was never able to win himself a championship, he can now say he has one today as he won the trophy as the Greatest #45 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Shoutout to Mr. Hendrix on today's honor, and I hope he keeps “rocking on” in his life.
Be on the lookout for Saturday's post, which covers the Greatest #44 in Dallas Cowboys History, and have a Happy Friday!