THEN AND NOW
A recovering D.D. Lewis attempts to inspire others
By RICK HERRIN
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
D.D. Lewis is living a rewarding post-Cowboys life.
Lewis, 60, works as an inspirational speaker in a community outreach position with the Potash Corp. He speaks to students and athletes across the country about character building and the dangers of substance abuse.
Lewis, the former Cowboys linebacker who retired in 1981, speaks from firsthand knowledge. He is a recovering alcohol and drug addict and said he lost his family because of his problems after his career.
What kind of impact do you have on students?
I think I have helped a lot of people. How did I know I would be doing this when I got out of football? It takes my defects and creates an asset. A lot of people hear it from me when they can't hear it from their parents. I thought I never had a problem and was living a delusional life. When my wife kicked me out, that was the point for me.
What's your best football story you tell during your speeches?
I tell them about making two interceptions against the Los Angeles Rams in the [1975 NFC] Championship Game. ... We were the first wild-card team to make it to the Super Bowl. But most of my vivid plays are the bad ones. The last one was Joe Montana. That was a tough way to go out [in the 1981 NFC Championship Game].
What did you admire most about coach Tom Landry?
The thing that most people didn't know was that Landry's door was always open. You could see him anytime you wanted. I don't think a lot of players knew that. He was just a serious man. I think we all wanted to look good to him and not take problems to him.
Who is the greatest linebacker in Cowboys history?
Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan were hard to beat. Athlete-wise, Howley was just phenomenal. Lee Roy, for the scheme Landry was using, was the perfect middle linebacker. He was like a coach on the team. Players went to him when they had a question. Hollywood [Henderson] was a great linebacker, but he never reached his potential.
Who is the next player that should go in the Ring of Honor?
They ought to take Drew Pearson because he was just a phenomenal player. He could go across the middle and make the unbelievable plays. I know Drew ought to be in there. That's for sure.
IN THE KNOW
Cowboys, 1968, 1970-81
Played on five Super Bowl teams and in eight NFC championship games. ... Started at outside linebacker from 1973-81. ... Started 135 consecutive games (tied for third in team history). ... Had eight career interceptions. ... Won two Super Bowls (1971, 1977). ... The former Mississippi State standout is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Motivational speaker as part of the community outreach program for the Potash Corp., which is the world's largest producer of fertilizer. Official title is manager of customer relations.
Stepson, Brook, 25, played football for Dallas Jesuit. ... D.D. Lewis worked for an oil field supply company after retiring. ... Also worked in fertilizer sales. ... Was in Army basic training in 1969 and missed season.