Walt Garrison, a former Dallas Cowboys star and Super Bowl champion, has reportedly passed away. He was 79 years old.
According to AP News, Garrison had died overnight and there was no official cause of death reported. The Dallas Cowboys shared more details about the former football player, who was on the team from 1966 to 1974.
The Dallas Cowboys revealed that Walt Garrison had played 119 regular season and 13 playoff games over nine seasons. He still ranks fourth on the team’s all-time list for average yards per rush (4.32). He is ninth in career rushing yards at 3,491 yards.
When he wasn’t on the field with his teammates, Walt Garrison was performing in rodeos as a rodeo cowboy. The Dallas Cowboys shared that the former football player became “hooked” on rodeo at a young age. “[He] excelled at steer wrestling in particular,” the team stated. In fact, during his rookie season, Garrison would also go out after team meetings and compete in local rodeos.
“I wasn’t starting,” Garrison once recalled. “I was returning punts and kicks and covering on the kamikaze squad, that’s all I was doing. And hell, you could get hurt worse on them than you can rodeoing. I didn’t think much about it, but the Cowboys did.”
However, thanks to Garrison, former Dallas Coach Tom Landry prohibited players from moonlighting during the NFL season. He helped the Cowboys dominate against the Miami Dolphins during Super Bowl VI in 1971.
Walt Garrison Opens Up About the Steer Wrestling Injury That Ended His NFL Career
Although he loved steer wrestling, the activity ended up costing Walt Garrison his NFL career in 1975. However, he never seemed at all upset about what happened.
“That injury is what actually ended my football career,” Garrison is reported saying. “That and my ability probably had as much to do with it. Nine years as a running back is a long time in the NFL, but I did tear my knee up bulldogging at a college rodeo.”
Walt Garrison then said that he did a match bulldogging against one of the college kids and that was when he tore his knee up. “But that gave me a good way to retire without someone saying, ‘Well, you’re too old and you’re too slow.’ I could say, ‘Well, I’d still be playing if I hadn’t hurt my knee.’”
Garrison remained optimistic about the injury and even said that it had set up his life’s work with his association with US Smokeless Tobacco. The Dallas Cowboys went on to conclude that Garrison remained a Cowboy – and an actual cowboy – at heart until his death.
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