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 61 and a historical player.
OG Nate Newton
Born: 20th December 1961 (61) - Orlando, Florida
College: Florida A&M Rattlers
Draft: 1983, UDFA, Washington
Nate Newton had plenty of offers from high profile colleges, but when the time came for him to decide he chose to stay local and enroll at Florida A&M. He played fullback but grew to big for the position and had to be moved to the defensive line. He started playing major reps for the Rattlers during his sophomore season and became a two-way player by taking snaps as both a defensive and offensive lineman. He made the transition to being a full-time offensive lineman during his junior year and completely owned the position. He would earn All-Mid Eastern Athletic Conference honors while playing right tackle. In 1994 he was inducted in Florida A&M’s Sports Hall of Fame.
At first Newton went to go play in the USFL for Tampa Bay, but signed as a UDFA for Washington in 1983. He would later return to Tampa Bay and play there for two seasons as one of the teams starting tackles. In 1986 the USFL became insolvent and Newton found himself on the market; it was here he would begin his journey with the Dallas Cowboys. As soon as he joined the team he was given the nickname “The Kitchen” referencing the fact he was bigger than William “The Fridge” Perry. Newton’s time in Dallas was very nearly cut short when he put on too much weight and lost to Jimmy Johnson in a foot race.
For the next few seasons Newton would play right tackle for the Cowboys until the arrival of Erik Williams. Newton moved to left guard and suddenly the offensive line was set to make history. Newton was one of the key figures on the offensive line that would later be nicknamed “The Great Wall of Dallas”. He would make consecutive Pro Bowls in the 90’s with a total of six appearances, only Larry Allen would have more with 10. Newton’s rivalry with NFL defensive legend Reggie White would be some of the most memorable moments during his career. During the Cowboys golden era in the 1990’s the league considered Nate Newton among the NFL’s premier guards and he held that regard for an entire decade with John Madden highlighting Newton virtually every chance he could. He was one of the teams major factors that helped Emmitt Smith obliterate the all-time rushing record, with Smith himself acknowledging how important Newton was to his success.
Newton would leave Dallas in 1999 and go on to play for the Carolina Panthers. He would serve as a backup guard and later be placed on injured reserve. He would not play again and retire.
His life after football would lead to issues with the law and prison. When he got out of prison Newton made the decision to turn things around and focus on positivity. He lost weight and worked hard as a radio broadcaster, in time he spoke to Jerry Jones about working again for the Dallas Cowboys and was given the opportunity. To this day Newton still works on broadcasts for the team offering insight and knowledge of the game from a player’s perspective. You can find him every week on the Cowboys podcast network with shows like Hangin’ With The Boys or Cowboys Break. He is much loved and respected by listeners and fellow broadcasters.