The Dallas Cowboys are closing in on three weeks until they officially take the field against the Arizona Cardinals. In just over three weeks the Cowboys are finally back on the field to play once again. In the history of the team, there have been seven players who have worn the number 22. None of which happened following the 2002 season.
During this era in Dallas Cowboys history, three players would wear 22. The first was safety Bill Butler. Butler lasted the lone season in Dallas recording one interception. He was selected in the expansion draft from the Green Bay Packers. Butler used on punt and kick returns, he was traded to Pittsburgh.
Amos Bullocks joined the team in 1962 and lasted until 1964. Bullocks rushed for 537 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons. He made stops in the CFL and Pittsburgh before calling it a career. He was also used as a return man during his stint in Dallas.
Bob Hayes joined the Dallas Cowboys when he was drafted in 1964. That year he competed in the Olympic Games, winning two gold medals. His rookie season started in 1965. He started 13 games that season, Hayes recorded 46 receptions for 1,003 and 12 touchdowns. The following season Hayes added 64 receptions for 1,232 and 13 touchdowns.
During his career, the man called “Bullet” recorded 365 receptions for 7,295 yards for the Dallas Cowboys. He still holds the record for most touchdown receptions in team history, a record that Dez Bryant is closing in on. Hayes would finish his career in 1975 as a member of the 49ers but only played in four games. Hayes is currently top 10 in team history for his 365 receptions, top five for his 7,295 yards and has the touchdown record.
Some say that Hayes revolutionized the game with his speed. This would cause teams to go to zone coverages due to their inability to counter his speed. Bullet Bob Hayes joined the Hall of Fame in 2009. He led the NFL in touchdown receptions in 1965 and 1966. Hayes received All-Pro accolades three times in his career as well as three Pro Bowl selections.
For the 1979 season the Cowboys added Wade Manning as a free agent. Manning didn’t play college football but was seen as a top athlete. He played one year for the team before joining Denver. Manning appeared in nine games with 10 punt returns and seven kickoff returns. George Peoples was drafted in the eighth round of the 1982 NFL Draft. He appeared in eight games, played mostly on special teams.
Victor Scott was drafted in the second round of the 1984 NFL Draft. He only started three games in his career with 45 total appearances. He recorded five interceptions during this time. Scott would only play in one playoff game. He was used on special teams and as a reserve. Scott moved on to the Arena Football League where he would play until 1994.
In the 1990 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys drafted the final member of the triplets. The Cowboys jumped four spots to select Smith. His rookie year he recorded 937 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors. Smith spent 13 years as a Dallas Cowboy.
During this time he set the All-Time rushing record surpassing Walter Payton, he extended the record to 17,162 yards. Following the end of his Cowboys career, Smith joined the Cardinals and now the record sits at 18,355 yards. He also holds the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns with 164. He had three seasons of 18+ including 25 total in 1995. It broke John Riggins’ record of 24 in a single season. Since then three backs have surpassed it.
Smith was known for his toughness during his time for the Cowboys. Playing with separated shoulder against the Giants, Smith gave one of the most gutsiest performances in NFL history. He led the Cowboys to an overtime victory over the New York Giants with basically one arm. He was one of the toughest players I have ever seen play the game. He is without a doubt the best player to ever wear 22.