Righting an Outstanding Wrong: Congratulations, "Bullet" Bob Hayes

Written by theMBIIIeffect

There are several different kinds of fast.

There’s “fast in a straight line.” There’s “fast in the combine” and there’s “fast in practice.”

Then, there’s just plain fast.

Late Cowboy great Bob Hayes was fast.

Tonight, Hayes will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In his time, Hayes was known by several monikers.

In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, he was the “World’s Fastest Human” after tying the world record in the 100-meter dash with a blistering 10.05 time. He was also the anchor in the 400-meter relay, where he put in an 8.6 split, a sprint that The Los Angeles Times later called “the most astonishing sprint of all time.

Hayes added the nickname “Bullet” after the Cowboys selected him in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft.

Hayes adapted quickly to the NFL according to longtime Cowboys personnel director Gil Brandt.

“Everyone was kind of apprehensive at training camp because that’s a lot different from the regular season,” Brandt said. “Then, all of a sudden, we got into the regular season and he did the same thing.”

Hayes had 1,003 yards and 12 touchdowns in his rookie season, with a league-leading 21.7 yards per catch.

His outright speed gave opposing defenses fits, forcing defensive coordinators to create zone defenses common in the NFL today.

When Hayes won the Super Bowl with the Cowboys in 1972, he became the only athlete to have a Super Bowl ring and an Olympic gold medal. \

But personal problems, alcohol abuse and a 1979 guilty plea to delivering narcotics to an undercover police officer, gave Hayes another title: addict.

Hayes spent 10 months in prison, a time that “destroyed my life” according to Hayes in his autobiography, Run, Bullet, Run: The Rise, Fall, and Recovery of Bob Hayes.

It is this mark on an otherwise untarnished career that kept Hayes from adding “Hall of Famer” to his long list of nicknames.

In the later stages of his life, Hayes revealed how much that snub hurt him.

Still, he said being left out of the football Hall of Fame made him feel “like an outcast — like I’ve been left out and forgotten throughout the nation.”

“There’s a lot of pain in my heart because what I accomplished was second to none,” he said in 1999. “I’m not losing any sleep, but I do pay attention every year at this time.”

Hayes wasn’t alone. Former Cowboys owner and general manager Tex Schramm called Hayes’ absence from the Hall “one of the most tragic stories I’ve ever been associated with during my time in professional football.”

Until his death in 2002 from kidney failure, Hayes remained loyal to the Cowboys.

At his induction to the Cowboys Ring of Fame in September of 2001, Hayes had this to say:

“I’m thrilled, I’m grateful, I’m blessed,” Hayes told the crowd at his induction. “I played for the world’s greatest professional sports team in history. Once a Dallas Cowboy, always a Dallas Cowboy.”

So, congratulations on your induction to the Hall of Fame, Bob. It hurts to know that you aren’t around to see it happen, but hopefully, you’ll finally be at home in the Hall.

Hayes’ obit

Youtube Tribute to Hayes

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