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Throwback Thursday: Cowboys Linebacker Lee Roy Jordan

With the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft being the hot topic of conversation around the Dallas Cowboys, it is only fitting that we turn to a former first-round selection for this week's edition of Throwback Thursday.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

#TBT - Part of our weekly Throwback Thursday series.

Today we are going to talk about the original "Pick Six", one that paid off significantly better for the Dallas Cowboys that the current holder of that moniker.  The team invested the sixth-overall selection in the 1963 NFL Draft in Lee Roy Jordan out of the University of Alabama. Lee Roy earned MVP honors in both the 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl and the 1962 Orange Bowl. He was also a consensus All-American after the 1962 campaign. He left a significant mark in the memory of his head coach.

"He was one of the finest football players the world has ever seen. If runners stayed between the sidelines, he tackled them." - Paul "Bear" Bryant

Following a stand out college career, Jordan went on to become a success in the National Football League. Jordan was the mainstay of Tom Landry's legendary Doomsday Defense for 14 seasons after becoming the first rookie linebacker in team history to earn a starting role in his first professional game. He remained true to the impression that he created in Bryant's memory. Jordan was a tackling machine for the Cowboys. His teammates quickly tagged the young rookie standout with the nickname "Killer". Ask opposing running backs if you want to know why.

By his second season Jordan had taken over the job as the team's middle linebacker and, as a team captain, he was in charge of setting Coach Landry's defense on the field. Lee Roy, along with Chuck Howley and Dave Edwards, formed one of the finest linebacker corps to ever grace the gridiron. The trio together formed the backbone that made the Flex Defense so effective in shutting down enemy offensive plans. Edwards was responsible for tying up the tight end so that he could not block the other two men so that they could be the playmakers of the defense.

In 14 seasons Jordan recorded 1,236 tackles, 743 of which were solo efforts. The first mark is still good enough to rank him in first place on the Cowboys all-time record list, in spite of the face that it has been nearly three decades since he last donned a helmet and took the field. His combines total is still second all time. Lee Roy had a nose for the ball. He recovered 16 fumbles as a Cowboy (also second highest in club history) and intercepted 32 passes (seventh best total in team annals). Three of those interceptions were returned for scores.

Success has its reward. Five times Jordan was names as a member of the Pro Bowl team, including a pair of All Pro honors. He is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Silver Anniversary team on he was inducted as the seventh man to join the Ring of Honor. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was a finalist for similar honors in Canton. Lee Roy Jordan is perhaps the finest professional football player not to be so recognized. The fact that he has not joined the immortals of the game is a complete travesty.

Jordan achieved success beyond what most players could ever imagine. He did it in spite of generally being one of the smallest men on the field. Officially, Jordan was listed at 6' 1" and anywhere from 215-221 pounds, but he has often been quoted as saying that he was never over 205 in his entire life. It was his heart and his will to succeed that drove him as both a player and a man.

Beyond the game, Jordan has found success in the business world. After retirement he bought the Redwood Lumber Company of Dallas and renamed it Lee Roy Jordan Lumber. Under his leadership the business has grown tremendously and currently supplies not only redwood but other specialty lumber products to contractors throughout the region. In recent years Jordan has been able to expand his enterprise beyond the DFW area and now has a second operation in Hillsboro, Texas.

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