Cornell Green 34
Cornell Green was a college basketball player who never played a down of college football, that the Dallas Cowboys converted into a defensive back. On a tip from the Utah State basketball coach, the Cowboys discovered and signed the multi-talented younger brother of then Red Sox infielder Pumpsie Green for $1,000 dollars. This was one of the innovative personnel decisions the Cowboys were renowned for. Green made the 1962 team as an undrafted free agent, learning fast enough to start 3 games and be selected to the NFL All-Rookie team. The next season, he became a full-time starter at left cornerback setting a career best with 7 interceptions.
Green became a big-time contributor to Tom Landry’s intricate defensive schemes and a feared defender during his career. All he was missing were the interception stats. Said Gil Brandt: "I mean, if Cornell had any kind of hands, he would’ve had three times as many interceptions as he got ... and the guy played basketball in college." He played cornerback during his first eight seasons, while leading the team in interceptions 4 times, being named to 5 Pro Bowls and 4 All-Pro teams. Cowboys coach Tom Landry said of Green, "He had the athletic skills from basketball to become a fine defensive back. His only transition was playing a sport where you could tackle someone with the ball, and Cornell never had a problem dealing with that". Show your appreciation for Cornell Green with collectibles, photographs and more here at the Drew Pearson's Cowboys Legends Pro Shop.