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In Memory: Dallas Cowboy Jethro Pugh (1944-2015)

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It was Jethro Pugh who was blocked by Jerry Kramer to allow Bart Star to score the winning touchdown during the ICE Bowl. Sadly, Pugh passed away just days prior to this weekend's playoff rematch at Lambeau Field.

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Jethro Pugh joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1965, just before the start of the era of dominance the team experienced under Tom Landry during the late 1960's and 1970's. A native of Windsor, North Carolina, Pugh entered college at the age of 16 and by the time he turned 20 he was already a member of the Dallas Cowboys. During his time in Dallas, Jethro helped anchor the defensive front of Landry's famed Doomsday Defense, and twice he was a Super Bowl Champion.

In many ways Pugh was the unsung workhorse of a defensive front that included guys like Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Randy White, and Harvey Martin. During his early days in Dallas it was Bob Lilly, George Andrie, Willie Townes, and Larry Cole who stood in the limelight. Together those men  formed two of the most dominating defensive front lines in football history. Jethro was a key piece of both the Doomsday I & II defenses under Coach Landry. Overshadowed by the play of his three colleagues, Jethro never received the honors that fell to his line mates, but his contributions were vital to the success that the Dallas Cowboys experienced during the fourteen seasons that Jethro Pugh was an active member of the team.

Some of Pugh's achievements include leading the Cowboys in sacks each season from 1968 through 1972. According to unofficial team records, he recorded 95.5 sacks during his career, all of which was spent as a Cowboy. During his career Jethro was a key piece in not only two Super Bowl wins, but also five NFC championships. At the time of his retirement, he held the NFL record for most post-season games played at 23. Today, Jethro Pugh stands sixth on the all time sack list for the Dallas Cowboys and his tenure with the team ranks as the forth-longest behind only "Too Tall" Jones, Mark Tuinei, and Bill Bates.

Following life on the gridiron, Jethro Pugh found success in the business community by operating a series of gift shops at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. Himself a product of a historically black college, Pugh used his success in both football and the business world to give back to those who chose to follow a similar route. The Jethro Pugh Celebrity Golf Tournament became an annual Dallas event where a large sum of money was raised each year to support the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Through his efforts, Jethro helped provide a four-year scholarship each year for a student attending a UNCF college in his adopted home state of Texas.

Sadly, Jethro Pugh was taken from us today at the age of 70. Thanks to his solid efforts on the field, and to his outstanding community service of the gridiron, the name and memory of a great Dallas Cowboy will live on forever.