Nov 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys ring of honoree former tackle Rayfield Wright during a halftime ceremony against the Seattle Seahawks at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboy Flashback: Rayfield “Big Cat” Wright

Larry Allen was recently voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame prior to Super Bowl XLVII as the second Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman voted.  The first had the nickname “Big Cat”, Rayfield “Big Cat” Wright was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 alongside fellow Cowboy Troy Aikman.  Joining Wright and Aikman in that group Harry Carson, John Madden, Warren Moon, and Reggie White

Nov 6, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys ring of honoree former tackle Rayfield Wright during a halftime ceremony against the Seattle Seahawks at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Wright played his entire career with the Cowboys starting in 1967 as he was originally drafted as a tight end.  During the first three seasons, he was used as a tight end, a defensive lineman, and offensive lineman primarily at the tackle position.  Then in 1969, he had gotten a chance at a starting spot as the Cowboy’s right tackle due to an injury Ralph Neely.  Wright remained at his spot for the next ten seasons ending his career in 1980.

During his thirteen seasons, Wright was a six time Pro Bowl selection, named to the All-Pro team four times, won 2 Super Bowls while playing in 5, and named NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1972.  Along with his many accolades, Wright was named to the All-Super Bowl team in 1990, the Dallas Cowboys 1st Anniversary Team in 1985, inducted in to the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2004, and was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 as well as being named the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970’s. Wright coached in 1992 as an assistant coach for former Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Danny White.

And all of this after Wright couldn’t even make his high school football team at Griffin High School in Georgia where he lettered in basketball.  Wright attended Fort Valley State College so he could play basketball, but former football coach Stan Lomax saw something in Wright to make him quit his job so he could prepare for football.  Wright played various positions including punter, defensive end, and tight end.  He did still basketball but only after he finished his football season at the college.

The “Big Cat” was literally big at 6 foot 7 inches weighing in at 255 pounds.  As big as he was, there was nothing bigger than his heart as he served as president of “Caring For Kids”.  Then in the 1990’s along many other NFL players including a former teammate, Cliff Harris co-founded “Kids 4 Tomorrow”.  Then of course, there is the Rayfield Wright Foundation that guides children whose lives mirror that of Wrights’ past.

Rayfield Wright was and is the epitome of a fine athlete but also a good person.  Wright continues to work with his foundation and to help the needs of children who need it.

*Cowboy Flashback will be a series of articles on the history of the Dallas Cowboys.  I will find some history of the team and share it in one of my weekly articles on a monthly basis.  If you have any suggestions or questions, email me.  My email information is in bio on this page.

 

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