Former Dallas Cowboys punter Ron Widby, who was a Pro Bowler and member of the Cowboys’ 1971 championship season, died on Wednesday. He was 75.
Widby’s NFL career spanned four seasons with the Cowboys from 1968-1971 and two thereafter with the Green Bay Packers.
Widby was hardly your average punter, as he was a three-sport professional athlete, having played in the American Basketball Association for a year with the New Orleans franchise and competing in the Senior PGA Tour in the 1990s, per the Cowboys.
During his run with the Cowboys, Widby played in back-to-back Super Bowls (1970-71) before aiding Dallas in its first title win in Super Bowl VI.
Lettering in three sports at Tennessee, Widby was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, along with the New Orleans Buccaneers (ABA) and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.
As a rookie with Dallas, Widby garnered notice with an eye-popping 84-yard punt that was the longest in the league in the 1968 season. It’s a mark that still stands today as the longest in team history.
Perhaps Widby’s biggest claim to fame, however, is that he was the last Cowboy to don No. 12 before one of the greatest Cowboys of them all put on the number. Widby switched from No. 12 to No. 10 so Roger Staubach could keep the number he wore as a Heisman Trophy winner at the Naval Academy.
Following the 1971 season, Widby was traded to the Packers.
Over 81 games in six seasons, Widby punted 368 times for a total of 15,448 yards with an average of 42 yards per punt. During his time with the Packers in the 1972 season, he also completed both of his career passing attempts, tallying 102 yards on the completions, including a 68-yard touchdown.
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