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KITTI'S KORNER: Looking Back-Rayfield Wright 1967-1980




Althought he failed to make his high school's football team Rayfield Wright became a basketball star for Fairmont High School in Griffin. Georgia. He turned that success into a basketball scholarship to Fort Valley State College. It was at Fort Valley that Coach Stan Lomax forced young Wright to quit his summer job at the local mill to join the Fort Valley football team. Coach Lomax also became a father figure to rayfield, who had grown up fatherless and had been raised by his grandmother. It was Coach Lomax who wright asked to present him for enshrinement in Canton before the 2005 season.

As a football player for Fort Valley State Rayfield played free safety and punter initially before becoming a two way end. Even at his size 6'7" and 225 pounds Wright demonstrated athletic ability that exceeded the smaller guys on the field. After his senior year the Dallas Cowboys came calling selecting Rayfield Wright with their 7th round pick. Because of his superior athletic ability Coach Landry projected him as a tight end. Over the next three seasons Wright rotated around the roster, seeing service as a tight end, both offensive tackle slots, and in the various defensive line positions. He finally made his first start at the end of the 1969 season against the L A Rams. He spent the day facing the Ram's future Hall of Fame pass rusher Deacon Jones, who was then in the prime of his career. Wright battled the great defensive lineman to a stalemate. Because of that performance, he was named the starting right tackle prior to the start of training camp the next season. In that era of the NFL the right tackle was considered to be the equivalent of what the left tackle is today.

The 1970 season was the start of a ten year run of success for the Dallas Cowboys. The offensive side of the ball was one of the top scoring units each of the next ten seasons. The common denominator for each of those teams is that the offensive line was anchored by Rayfield Wright. Starting in 1971 Wright earned six consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and he was named All Pro after four of those seasons. For seven of those seasons Rayfield joined Roger Staubach as the co-captains of the Dallas offense. When asked about his right tackle, Staubach stated the Wright was absolutely the best RT he ever saw, and that if Wright had ever made a mistake in blocking it was never noticed.

Rayfield Wright retired after the 1980 season, but he later joined his former teammate Danny White as an assistant coach of Whites Arizona Wranglers in the old USFL.

After his career Rayfield Wright was honored for his achievements on the field in many ways. A five time Super Bowl participant, he was named to the All Super Bowl team and also the NFL All Decade team for the 1970s. He is a member of the Cowboys Silver Anniversary team and the team's Ring of honor. In 2005, Rayfield Wright was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rayfield Wright may have been a Hall of Famer on the field, but he has proven to be an even better person than he was a player. He is very active with the NFL Alumni Association's childrens charity programs. He is also president of the rayfield wright foundation which focuses on helping children who grow up in the same disadvantaged circumstances that rayfield himself had to face. he also devotes time to being a motivational speaker at various events around the country.

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