We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 72 and a historical player.
DE Ed “Too Tall” Jones
Born: 23rd February 1951 (72) - Jackson, Tennessee
College: Tennessee State Tigers
Draft: 1974, Round 1, Pick 1, Dallas Cowboys
Fumble Recoveries: 19
Ed “Too Tall” Jones was a super gifted athlete in high school playing mostly basketball and baseball, but did participate in some football, playing in three games. He was extremely talented at basketball and earned scholarship offers because of his skills on the court. He also received offers to play baseball and even fought in boxing, which he had to stop due to requests from his basketball coaches. He got to Tennessee State and played two seasons of basketball before the desire to play football was too much and he made the switch.
It was on the football team he received his nickname getting told he was ‘too tall’ to play football (6ft 9in), but he refused to let that get in the way. He was named All-American two years in a row while playing for Tennessee State and helped the team to greatness, losing only two games while winning two black college football national championships in 1971 and 1973. Jones finished his collegiate career at Tennessee State ranking fifth in its school history in sacks, and his 12 sacks in one season is still third-most for the Tigers to this day. In 2013, Jones was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
In 1974, the Dallas Cowboys had the first overall pick for the first time in its team’s history and they used that selection on Jones. He is the first of three picks the Cowboys have ever made with a number one overall selection, with the next one being Troy Aikman in 1989. He managed to win a starting role by 1975 at defensive end, and in the 1977 season he helped the team win its second Lombardi trophy in Super Bowl XII. At 28 years old Jones was reaching the peak of his career when suddenly he retired from football to begin a career in professional boxing.
He would go on to win six high profile boxing bouts, and Jones himself once said he believed his boxing career to be the best decision he ever made. His time in the ring also helped him to become an improved football player. In 1980, Jones returned to the Dallas Cowboys and he really did look better than before. He was so good that his ability to bat down passes forced the NFL to keep track of pass break ups as an official stat. During his time at Dallas Jones made 16 playoff appearances and three Super Bowls. His 106 sack total is fourth-most in Dallas and his 224 games played for the Cowboys is still third-most in the team’s history.