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Bill Bates 40

STRONG SAFETY/SPECIAL TEAMS

1983-1997

Bill Bates went undrafted in the 1983 NFL Draft after he ran the 40-yard dash in a disappointing 4.8 seconds during the NFL Scouting Combine. He was selected by the USFL's New Jersey Generals in their territorial draft, but he decided to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys, which had been his favorite team growing up. He was a long shot to make the team but his heart and hustle earned him a roster spot on the team and a place in the hearts of all Cowboy fans. From the start he excelled on special teams, being named NFC special teams player of the year as a rookie. In 1984 he was selected to the Pro Bowl in just his second year, causing the NFL to create a first-time roster spot for special teams players, making Bates the first such player to receive that election. He was also elected All-Pro that season.

 

In 1986, Bates became a starter at strong safety and remained there until 1988, after which he was used only in the Nickel defense packages.  Bates is tied with Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Mark Tuinei for the most seasons playing in a Cowboys uniform with 15. Bates earned three Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys, playing in Super Bowl XXVIII and Super Bowl XXX. He was on injured reserve during the 1992 season, when the Cowboys played in Super Bowl XXVII, due to a knee injury.Show your appreciation for Bill Bates with collectibles, photographs and more here at the Drew Pearson's Cowboys Legends Pro Shop.

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