Rayfield Wright: Hall of Fame

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by Hostile, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    :star: Larry Rayfield Wright :star:
    1967 - 1979
    OT, Fort Valley State


    Larry Rayfield Wright. . .Cowboys’ seventh round pick, 1967 NFL Draft. . .Earned permanent starting right tackle position, 1970. . .Known as “Big Cat,” earned first- or second-team All-NFL honors six consecutive times (1971-1976). . .Selected to play in Pro Bowl following each of those seasons. . .Started in six NFC championship games and played in five Super Bowls. . .Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s. . .Born August 23, 1945, in Griffin, Georgia.

    Inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame 8/6/06
    Inducted in Cowboys Ring of Honor 10/10/04

    6 time Pro Bowl...1971 - 76
    4 time All Pro...1971 - 73, 75

    Link to Rayfield Wright's Hall of Fame Page.
    Link to Rayfield Wright's Stats.
    Link to Rayfield Wright's Home Page.

    Rayfield Wright, the Dallas Cowboys seventh round draft pick in the 1967 draft, was given little chance of making the team's final roster. But the Fort Valley (GA) State All-America demonstrated enough determination and raw athleticism that the coaching staff knew they somehow needed to work him into the lineup.

    During his first three seasons the 6-6, 255-pound Wright was used as a tight end, defensive end, and offensive tackle. In 1969 when right tackle Ralph Neely was injured, Coach Tom Landry decided to insert Wright into the lineup. His first opponent was future Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones. "The Deacon is big and strong and mean," Wright was cautioned by his line coach. "Well," said the confident Wright, "so am I."


    Wright's performance against Jones was good enough that before training camp opened in 1970, Landry announced that Wright would be his starting right tackle. One season later he was named All-NFL. Known as "Big Cat," Wright earned first- or second-team All-NFL honors six consecutive times (1971-1976). He was also selected to play in the Pro Bowl following each of those seasons.

    Wright's performance during the 1975 season was particularly impressive. Coming off knee surgery, many questioned whether "Big Cat" would even play. Not only did he play, but he again notched All-NFL honors into his career belt. In postseason play he faced three legendary defensive ends - Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood, Pittsburgh Steelers L.C. Greenwood, and Minnesota Vikings Carl Eller - head on. Each time he rose to the occasion with exceptional play.

    "He was truly outstanding," Youngblood summarized of Wright's play in the playoff game. As for his performance against Eller, longtime Cowboys offensive line coach Jim Myers proclaimed that Rayfield "played as well or even better in that game."

    "An all-day fight with Rayfield Wright definitely is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon," Eller once offered. "I think he is pretty much of a composite of an all-pro tackle. He has size, strength, and quickness. The big thing in Rayfield's favor is that he has a lot of range. He moves faster than most tackles. He's just difficult to play against."

    Myers summarized Wright's overall career this way. "We tried to make a tight end out of Rayfield. Then we tried him on the defensive line. And then he made a great coach out of me."
  2. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    I don't think I will ever forget his Hall of Fame speech. "Heaven knows I'm not a saint, but I am a Dallas Cowboy." Sent chills all over my body and still does.
  3. jackrussell

    jackrussell Last of the Duke Street Kings

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    Never could say I had a Rayfield Wright memory...that all changed after witnessing his HOF speech.
  4. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    Same here.

    Never saw him play or at least I was too young to appreciate him. His HOF speech made me want to watch him play. So now when some old 'boys games from back in the day come on, I'm watching them just that much closer.
  5. Juke99

    Juke99 ...Abbey someone

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    Yep. That was a classic.

  6. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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  7. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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  8. notherbob

    notherbob Well-Known Member

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    I have a very fond memory of Rayfield Wright.

    I was sitting in the very top row at the old Cotton Bowl since I could not get a seat anywhere else. Late in the game, Rayfield checked in as a tackle-eligible and I just had a feeling about it and I shouted out loud "Meredith's gonna pull a Bart Starr type of play and hit Wright with a touchdown pass!" Sure enough, that's exactly what happened as Meredith looked the other way and then came right back and hit Rayfield all alone in the endzone.

    About a hundred people from several rows down all turned around and everybody applauded me. It was a great feeling. I think it was the only TD pass he ever caught in a game, and maybe the only pass in his NFL career.
    It's also the only play I remember calling right.
  9. lurkercowboy

    lurkercowboy Well-Known Member

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    Same here. I saw him play, but I was too young to appreciate him. I barely knew the offensive linemen's names back then.
  10. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    That's a great story.
  11. Zaxor

    Zaxor Virtus Mille Scuta

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    probably why no one has a Rayfield Wright memory is one that Olineman weren't as appreciated than as they are now and the 2nd being he rarely did anything spectacular he just did everything fantastically well. and it was a great speech

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