The Dallas Cowboys are best known as "America's team" because they appear on televisions across the country and their faces are very familiar to the general public, even if the lady or gentleman isn't a diehard NFL fan. However, you might disagree with this all-American belief, as there are other teams, like, say, the Green Bay Packers that better fit into the stereotypical ideal due to their plethora of fans who travel well and not just attend home games. But, anyways, the Cowboys continue to be one of the most historic franchises in all of professional sports, so let me dive into a Cowboys-related topic right now.
Like many other pro teams, the Cowboys have a rich history, but not all the previous players and coaches will be remembered by the average NFL fan on the street. There have been plenty of folks who went AWOL for whatever reason it may be, and no one really heard anything about them ever again. But, that's the sporting life, and not everyone will get the good things that they've ask for.
With all that said, here's my take on the 20 NFL players that everyone forgets played for the Cowboys. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Enjoy my list! Happy reading!
20 Drew Bledsoe
Before there was five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, there was the Super Bowl XXXVI champion Drew Bledsoe. Okay, Bledsoe wasn't one of the biggest winners in NFL history, but he was still a quarterback that you should know—especially if you're a self-described New England Patriots fan.
Bledsoe was best known as the Patriots' starting quarterback from 1993 to 2001 before he suffered a near career ending injury.
The 46-year-old and former No. 1 pick never regained his starting gig and moved on to play short stints with the Buffalo Bills (2002 to 2004) and the Dallas Cowboys (2005 to 2006) before announcing his retirement in 2006.
19 Mike Vanderjagt
If you've been following pro football since forever, then you've likely heard of the placekicker Mike Vanderjagt...just not as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
Vanderjagt was better known for his time with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts as well as his seven-year tenure with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2005.
However, almost no one remembers his one-year stint with the Cowboys in 2006.
If you're aware of the 48-year-old and former eighth round pick's title of most accurate field goal kicker in both CFL and NFL history, it'd probably likely be his Indianapolis years since he only played in Arlington for one year where his FG% plummeted to 72%.
18 Keyshawn Johnson
Johnson began his NFL career with the New York Jets, who selected the 46-year-old out of the University of Southern California in the 1992 NFL Draft with the No. 1 overall pick. The former Trojan was recognized twice as a consensus
First-Team selection in college back-to-back years of 1994 and 1995 and graduated from his alma mater in 1997 with a degree in social sciences and history.
Johnson may not have been a poster boy in Dallas, but he was able to find work on ESPN, A&E and First Picks Management after announcing his retirement in 2006.
17 Zach Thomas
Zach Thomas was a star middle linebacker, but he spent the majority of his pro career with the Miami Dolphins, whom he played for from 1996 to 2007. He then spent one season apiece with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 and then Kansas City Chiefs—as an offseason and/or practice squad member—in 2009.
Unfortunately, Thomas' career ended on a negative note as he suffered a concussion during the Chiefs' training camp in 2009 and the team let go of the former fifth round pick, despite his one-year, $2 million contract.
At least Thomas landed a job after retirement. He's the owner of two Zach's Club 54 locations in the Texas cities of Amarillo and Lubbock.
16 Danny Amendola
Unlike most other players featured in this article, wide receiver Danny Amendola is still in the NFL. In case you need a refresher, Amendola currently plays for the Miami Dolphins after signing a two-year contract with the team in March 2018. Amendola most recently played for the New England Patriots, where he became a two-time Super Bowl champion for XLIX and LI, from 2013 to 2017.
Amendola, played for his hometown team, Dallas Cowboys, as an undrafted free agent, in 2008 out of his alma mater Texas Tech.
The now 32-year-old only spent four months in Arlington before being cut from the Cowboys' roster. A year later, after a stint on the Eagles practice squad, he would find a home with the Rams, where he blossomed as a roster player.
15 Kyle Orton
If you're a Chicago Bears fan, you should already know the name of Kyle Orton.
But, in case you didn't know, Orton began his pro career as a Chicago Bear and spent three years in the Windy City from 2005 to 2008. He then played short stints with the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2011, Kansas City Chiefs in 2011, Dallas Cowboys from 2012 to 2013, and Buffalo Bills in 2014.
Orton was signed as a replacement for Jon Kitna, who had long been Tony Romo's backup. Fortunately, Romo was able to stay healthy throughout Orton's Dallas tenure.
14 Steve DeBerg
Steve DeBerg, a former quarterback who played in the NFL for 21 seasons, is one of those quarterbacks who defied the odds in their 40s.
The former 10th round pick played for various teams, including the Dallas Cowboys as his first team in 1977.
After announcing his retirement in 1993, DeBerg served as the head coach of the AFL's Indiana Firebirds and quarterback coach of the AFL's Tampa Bay Storm. As a San Jose State alumna, I'm glad to see a lot of former Spartans—past and present—thrive in their respective careers. Oh and it was cool DeBerg was once coached by the late Darryl Rogers (1934 to 2018) who passed away this past July.
13 Mark Sanchez
Even though his tenure with the Cowboys was fairly recent, Mark Sanchez's time in Dallas was largely forgettable, as he was one of several QBs to play a few games for Dallas back in 2016, as Tony Romo had lost his starting job via injury to rookie Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys wanted the veteran Sanchez in there, as Prescott's backup while Romo recovered.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, things worked out with Prescott as the starter, as Sanchez hasn't shown much promise under center since his early days as a New York Jet. Sanchez saw some game action in just two games that season, as the Cowboys clinched the NFC East and homefield advantage prior to the end of the season.
12 Peerless Price
Yup, former wide receiver Peerless Price has a strange first name, but that's alright since he played just nine years in the NFL. The 41-year-old and former second round pick started and ended his pro career with the Buffalo Bills (1999 to 2002, 2006 to 2007).
Price also played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2003 to 2004 and Dallas Cowboys in 2005. During his one-year tenure in Arlington, he caught only six passes for 96 yards, one of which was 58 yards on a single pass play.
Unfortunately, Price never really lived up to the booming hype, and was released by the Bills in 2008 following season-ending neck surgery.
11 Eddie George
Eddie George spent most of his career with the Oilers/Titans franchise, and he sustained a heavy workload season after season, as the Titans offense largely centered around him. By the end of George's career, his body was worn out and the Titans decided to move on to Chris Brown as their feature back in 2004. The Cowboys figured George still had some good football in him. George had only failed to reach 1,000 yards once in his career prior to signing in Dallas.
George's season in Dallas was one to forget, as he only took over the starting job due to an injury to rookie Julius Jones, and lost it once Jones returned. George would finish the season with a career-low of 432 rushing yards on 132 carries.
10 Tyrone Williams
Former cornerback Tyrone Williams was one of those football players who were plagued with tough luck upon entering the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers selected Williams in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He started in all but two games for the Packers between 1997 to 2002, including two Super Bowl games.
Williams played short, one-year stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys in 2003 and 2004. Williams' last straw in the football world occurred when he was signed by the Cowboys, who released him following three unspectacular games in Arlington. So the Cowboys were his final stop and not many fans were going to remember that.
9 Pacman Jones
Pacman Jones was once seen as a promising star in the NFL. He's still managed to put a decent career together, but he never quite lived up to his initial hype. We don't know if he'll find a new NFL team who would welcome him with open arms, but we do know he played for the Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively.
Pacman's time in Arlington with the Cowboys was brief, as the former No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft only started six games, as injuries and off-field issues kept hindering his play.
8 Tony Parrish
Tony Parrish originally grew up with a passion for soccer and played soccer for the Pirates of North Huntington Beach Soccer Club in Huntington Beach, Calif. However, he later committed to the University of Washington, where he played college football for the Huskies before being selected in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft.
Parrish began his pro career with the Chicago Bears, where he played in the Windy City from 1998 to 2001, moved back west with the San Francisco 49ers from 2002 to 2006, and played his final NFL season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2006.
He then wrapped up his football career after a 2009 stint with the UFL's Las Vegas Locamotives.
7 Martellus Bennett
Former tight end Martellus Bennett played for five different teams during his 10-year NFL career, so he never really felt at home in his prime years. But the retired former second round pick, who's the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett, played with the Dallas Cowboys from 2008 to 2011.
Martellus was initially selected by the Cowboys in order to add a brand-new dimension as a part of the team's two tight end offense, but he never met his breakout potential in Arlington. Martellus then played with the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers, having various degrees of success.
6 Percy Howard
If you can recall, Percy Howard was an unlikely star for the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X. The former wide receiver, who's now 66-year-old, didn't—I repeat didn't—played college football, just college basketball at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn.
Howard is one of the handful of pro football players who didn't play college football yet somehow made it to the NFL. Howard played with the Cowboys in Arlington from 1975 to 1977 and his 34-yard touchdown catch in Super Bowl X turned out to be his lone career reception and last game in the NFL.
Despite all this, Howard became a part of the Cowboys' lore and was ranked No. 6 on NFL Top 10's Top Ten One-Shot Wonders.
5 Tyson Thompson
Former running back and return specialist Tyson Thompson is yet another San Jose State Spartan who went unrecognized in the NFL.
To be fair, Thompson didn't have a lengthy pro career, as he only played with the Dallas Cowboys from 2005 to 2008 after going undrafted in the 2005 NFL Draft.
It was just constant injuries and the inability to hold down starting gigs that affected what could've been a decent career for Thompson, who played brief stints with the UFL's Las Vegas Locomotives and IFL's Tri-Cities Fever before choosing to call it quits during the 2010 season.
4 Michael Barrow
Former linebacker Micheal Barrow most recently served as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017. The 48-year-old and former second round pick played for five different teams during his 12-year NFL career.
Barrow's last stop in the NFL was the Dallas Cowboys in the 2005 season. Overall, Barrow finished his pro career with 1,125 tackles and 43 sacks, including 150 tackles as a leader in the NFC in the 2003 season. Barrow's NFL career can probably be best described as a solid, but not spectacular player, but he has landed some coaching jobs following his career.
3 Adrian Murrell
Former running back Adrian Murrell was best known for his four-year tenure with the New York Jets from 1993 to 1997. As you might've already guessed, the 47-year-old was selected by the Jets in the fifth round with the 120th overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.
Adrian went on to play for the Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, and Dallas Cowboys.
Murrell's stint with the Cowboys was rather forgettable, as he returned to the NFL following a two-year break to play in Arlington, where he recorded 107 rushing yards during the 2003 season.
Moreover, Adrian's younger brother, Marques, played as a linebacker for the Jets from 2007 to 2009.
2 Ryan Leaf
Former quarterback Ryan Leaf is arguably the biggest draft in NFL history. Leaf is better known for his San Diego Chargers' tenure since he spent three years in San Diego and then one year apiece with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks.
Nothing lasts forever and that wasn't an understatement in Leaf's short-lived NFL career. The 42-year-old earned a degree from his alma mater Washington State University, but his personal issues affected him and was the downfall of his NFL career.
The Cowboys figured they'd take a shot at Leaf, as they were desperate to replace Troy Aikman, but things didn't work out.
1 Deion Sanders
Let's not forget former football and baseball player Deion Sanders, also known as "Primetime," was a member of the Dallas Cowboys' roster from 1995 to 1999. And yes, Primetime won two Super Bowls: XXIX with the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 and then the following year with the Cowboys.
Sanders was somewhat seen as a mercenary for the way he jumped ship from the San Francisco 49ers to the Cowboys, the top two teams in the NFC. Following his stint with Dallas, Sanders would have a very forgettable run with the Washington Redskins.