Don Perkins 43
The Dallas Cowboys franchise was admitted to the league too late to participate in the 1960 NFL draft in November 1959, so they signed Don Perkins to a personal-services contract for a $1,500 bonus and a $10,000 salary. This meant he would play for the Cowboys if and when they received an NFL franchise. His first season with the Cowboys was in 1961 as a rookie. He lacked long-distance speed, but made up for it with outstanding quickness and balance. He finished with 815 rushing yards (sixth among league leaders) and 4 touchdowns, earning NFL rookie of the year and Pro Bowl honors. Not only was he considered a superb blocker, he also finished in the NFL's top 10 rushing in each of his eight seasons in the league.
On September 24, 1961, he became the first running back in Cowboys' history to run for 100 yards in a game, when he rushed for 108 yards on 17 carries against the expansion Minnesota Vikings. Perkins's best year was in 1962, when he rushed for 945 yards and seven touchdowns, becoming the first Cowboy to make the All-Pro team. He was coming off his two best all-around seasons when he decided to retire prior to the 1969 season. Show your appreciation for Don Perkins with collectibles, photographs and more here at the Drew Pearson's Cowboys Legends Pro Shop.