Don Perkins, a six-time Pro Bowler for the Cowboys, died at age 84

Don Perkins, a running back for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s who went to the Pro Bowl six times, has died. He was 84.

Perkins died on Thursday, according to his NFL team and the University of New Mexico, where he was a star player before going pro. No reason for death was given.

Perkins played for the Cowboys from 1961 to 1968 and ran for 6,217 yards in 107 games. He is fourth on the team's all-time list, behind two Pro Football Hall of Famers, Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, as well as their current running back, Ezekiel Elliott. Perkins is tied for fifth in team history with 42 rushing touchdowns.

Even though the Baltimore Colts picked him in the ninth round of the 1960 draft, Perkins already had a personal services contract with the Cowboys. After giving the Colts a ninth-round draft pick, Dallas got his rights back.

Cowbpoys running back Don Perkens (43) is taken down by Colts’ Billy Ray Smith (74) and Ordell Braase (81) during a game in Baltimore in 1967.

Due to a broken foot, Perkins missed the Cowboys' first season in 1960. In 1961, he ran for 815 yards and came in third place behind Mike Ditka and Fran Tarkenton in the voting for NFL rookie of the year. In 1962, he ran for 945 yards, which was his best year ever.

Perkins was born in Waterloo, Iowa. From 1957 to 1959, he played for the New Mexico team. He was the team captain for the last two years that Marv Levy was the Lobos' coach. After his time in the NFL was over, Perkins moved back to the Albuquerque area.

Don Perkins, a six-time Pro Bowl running back with the Cowboys in the 1960s, died at 84.
AP Photo/Sharon Ellman, File

“Don is one of the greatest Lobos, and certainly one of the greatest football players to play for UNM. He was a tremendous student-athlete, and he had a terrific career in the NFL, but he was more than that,” New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez said. “He came back to New Mexico and worked for the state and was a tremendous ambassador for so many.”


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