Mel Renfro: Ring of Honor

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by Hostile, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    :star: 20 - Mel Renfro :star:

    1964 - 1977
    DB, Oregon


    10 time Pro Bowl...1964 - 73
    4 time All Pro...1965, 69, 71, 73

    Inducted in Cowboys Ring of Honor 10/25/81
    Inducted in Pro Football Hall of Fame 7/27/96

    Link to Mel Renfro's Ring of Honor page.

    Mel Renfro first came to the Cowboys a highly-acclaimed running back out of the University of Oregon. But Cowboys head coach Tom Landry saw Renfro as a defensive back when they selected him in the second round of the 1964 draft.

    And what a defensive back he was, becoming arguably the best safety-cornerback during his 14-year career to ever play for the Cowboys, and one of the best to ever play in the NFL. His 52 career interceptions and 26.4-yard career kickoff-return average still stand as team records, both a tribute to his running ability.

    The NFL certainly got to know Renfro in a hurry, having been elected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons in the NFL - the first six at free safety and the final four at cornerback. His 10 Pro Bowl appearances is second to only Bob Lilly's 11 for the Cowboys.

    On top of his 10 Pro Bowls, Renfro was a four-time All-Pro, playing in four Super Bowls and eight NFC Championships. He became the fifth member of the exclusive Ring of Honor in 1981, and was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 in his 14th year of eligibility.

    Renfro's 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys ties him for second in club history, just one shy of the record.

    While at Oregon, Renfro led the team in rushing three consecutive years and was a two-time All-American. Despite coming to the NFL as an acclaimed runner, Renfro only ran the ball eight times during his career, all in 1966.

    Landry saw a free safety first, Renfro spending his first six seasons at safety and the final eight at corner.

    In the middle of Renfro's All-Pro 1969 season, Landry was uncharacteristically complimentary toward one of his players, calling him "the best in the league at free safety."

    But the Cowboys certainly figured out a way to capitalize on Renfro's running ability, having him return punts and kickoffs early in his career. He led the NFL in kickoff and punt returns his rookie season, and had seven interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Renfro still is tied for the franchise lead with two career touchdown returns, and his 30-yard kick-off return average in 1965 still remains as the single-season high.

    But it was interceptions Renfro was best known for during his career. In his first six years at free safety, Renfro totaled 30 interceptions. His interception totals declined somewhat when Landry moved him to cornerback for good in 1970. The decline had more to do with quarterbacks' reluctance to throw his way than any diminishing skills or quickness. His 626 interception return yards still stands as a career record for the Cowboys.

    That 1971 Pro Bowl possibly was the greatest indication of Renfro's all-round ability. Not only did he play cornerback, but be also returned two punts for touchdowns, leading the NFC to a 27-6 win and earning the game's Most Valuable Player award.

    Born Dec. 30, 1941, in Houston, Texas.

  2. Juke99

    Juke99 ...Abbey someone

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    Second favorite player back then, right behind Bob Hayes.

    I always wanted to see the two of them race because Renfro sure looked like he'd be able to keep up with "the bullet"

    He was one of those guys that just looked different than the other players on the field.

    I remember feeling the same way the first time I saw Dave Winfield on the field. He looked like he came down from a higher league.

    Renfro had the look of a playmaker.

    I've always said, before there was a Deion Sanders, there was Mel Renfro.
  3. lurkercowboy

    lurkercowboy Well-Known Member

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    I remember when he was inducted into the Ring of Honor. It was in 1981 against the Dolphins. Impressive ceremony and they showed it at halftime on tv.

    THUMPER Papa

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    Renfro's case was the first time I realized the extent of the anti-Cowboys bias among the HoF voters. Why it took 14 years for him to finally be selected was criminal. The guy was one of the top-5 DBs of all-time IMO and played in an era of great DBs. The fact that he was selected to the Pro-Bowl 10 times by the coaches and players of that time showed what they thought of him. Only the mediots wouldn't give him his due.

    Great in coverage, great tackler, great return man, great teammate, and a great person. What more could you ask for from a player.
  5. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    And that was a hell of a comeback victory.

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