As a sports fan, the older I get the more I have come to appreciate the history of sports and the players that are a part of that history. I think we sometimes take for granted the joy we get from watching sports and forget about the players and their well-being.
Players in the NFL are essentially putting their long-term health at risk on any given day in order to not only play the game they love, but also provide fans the entertainment that we all crave.
We all have our favorite players and root for them when they are on the field, praying that they can remain healthy. We also seem to have a criteria that our favorite players seem to fit into, at least I do.
I have discovered that the players I tend to gravitate to are the ones that tend to go about doing their job without raising a fuss for asking for any kind of extra attention. This seems to have become more of a rarity in the NFL nowadays with the excessive touchdown celebrations or players celebrating after a quarterback sack.
That’s why I find it even more impressive when players go about playing the game the right way.
For instance, one of my all-time favorite baseball players is Craig Biggio. He played the game the way it was meant to be played. He wasn’t someone that was recognized for hitting a ton of home runs, but after any hit he hustled down the first base line and tried to stretch a single into a double every single time.
That is the type of player I root for and the Dallas Cowboys have had several of these players pass through during the history of the organization.
Due to the recent news that the Cowboys will have several players suspended in 2016 (Rolando McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory), I thought it was time to identify my favorite players that have played the game the right way.
I’m sure everyone will have different answers as to who their favorite players are to ever play for America’s Team, but I thought I would share with you both my all-time favorite and current favorite player’s to ever wear a star on their helmet.
Jason Witten, #82
Witten was drafted in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft and has spent his entire career with the organization. He is the all-time career leader in receptions for the Dallas Cowboys and currently ranks second in receptions and receiving yards by an NFL tight end, trailing only Tony Gonzales.
Witten has also been voted into the Pro Bowl 10 times, won Bart Starr Man of the Year Award (2013), Ed Block Courage Award (2012), and Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (2012) among many other impressive accolades.
I can go on and on about all of the impressive things Jason Witten has been able to accomplish in his career, but that’s not really why he’s my favorite player still playing with the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason Witten is my favorite because of the selflessness that he plays the game. He is willing to do whatever it takes in order to help his team. That’s the type of player you want to root for and the kind of players you want your team to be made up of.
My favorite memory of Witten is of him running down the field helmetless against the Philadelphia Eagles. To me that one play sums up the kind of player Jason Witten is.
Jason Witten is an Ironman and it will be a sad day when he finally decides to retire. He will be forever remembered as one of the greatest to ever suit up for the Dallas Cowboys and his bust will forever reside in the Hall of Fame as a reminder of his mark on the game.
Daryl Johnston, #48
You see, I was just getting old enough to really appreciate the game of football when the Dallas Cowboys started their dominance over the NFL the early 1990s. While everyone was expressing their love for The Triplets, I was pretending to be #48 in the backyard when playing football.
It didn’t matter what was going on in the game when I was watching it on TV. No matter what, I always seemed to gravitate towards what Daryl Johnston was doing on the field.
Johnston was the lead blocker for Emmitt Smith, a receiver out of the backfield, and a special teams ace during his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Whenever he made a play on the field, the stadium would erupt with “Mooooose” cheers.
Like Jason Witten, Daryl Johnston was willing to do everything in his power to help out his team. Unfortunately, that very thing ended up cutting his career short. He retired after the 1999 season after suffering a neck injury.
You may not have known, but because of Johnston’s dominance as a fullback, the NFL created the fullback position for the Pro Bowl. How cool is that!
As you can see, I have a certain type of player I tend to single out as being my favorite and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to find more of these types of players if they want to be successful.
Who are your favorite all-time and current players to suit up for the Dallas Cowboys?
Use the comment section below to share your personal favorites and let us all know why. I look forward to hearing from everybody so that we can discuss this further.