Darren Woodson won more Super Bowls than Bob Lilly, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro and Randy White.
He made more All-Pro teams than Lee Roy Jordan. Recorded 1,160 more tackles than Charles Haley.
And he played more Cowboys’ seasons than Cliff Harris.
As the 8th defensive player inductee into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor, Woodson is obviously one of the all-time greats in franchise history. But despite his sparkling resume and unblemished character, he’s not even the best defensive back in team history.
I covered Woodson when he was drafted out of Arizona State, as a linebacker. He made the shift to safety, volunteered to play on special teams and – 13 years later – wound up with three Super Bowl rings, a team-record 1,350 tackles and a spot in silver-‘n-blue immortality.
Woodson could hit. He could run. He could cover. He just wasn’t quite as good as Harris or Renfro.
During a shorter career (13 years to 10) Harris had more interceptions (29 to 23), more Pro Bowl appearances (6 to 5), more All-Pro teams (4 to 3) and played in five Super Bowls, winning two. And, oh by the way, he also returned punts and kickoffs. Not bad for an undrafted free agent out of tiny Ouachita (Ark.) Baptist. Not sure how Woodson gets into the Hall of Fame if Harris somehow hasn't.
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Renfro, who does reside in Canton, still holds the franchise record with 52 interceptions and went to 10 Pro Bowls.
Nothing for Woodson to be ashamed of, being the third-best defensive back in the history of America’s Team. On my all-time Cowboys’ team, Woodson starts at safety alongside Harris.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.