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The Biggest, Baddest Players in Dallas Cowboys History

Jason HenryCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2012

The Biggest, Baddest Players in Dallas Cowboys History

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    When fans think of the Dallas Cowboys, most usually remember Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach.

    The good guys, the men who brought championships to Dallas and are revered for their stellar play.

    But who were the big, bad guys who made opponents shake when they stepped onto the field? Those Cowboy players who were simply nasty?

    Allow me to give it a shot.

    Let's name 15 of the best and baddest players in Dallas Cowboys history.

Larry Allen, Guard

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    NFL Films named Larry Allen the 95th-best player of all time. Hands down, he was one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history.

    Allen once benched 692 pounds and was considered the strongest man in the league.

    He faced some of the most ferocious defensive tackles and ends in the league and always held his own.

    Former Minnesota Vikings end John Randle was known for his trash talk . He was one of the best to ever spit out his mouth piece and bark at an opposing player. But Randle was always nice to Allen because he knew that if he talked enough, that he would be dominated.

    Allen was the type of player who allowed his play to do his talking, but I'll always remember him as one of the baddest Cowboys players of all time.

Ed Lee 'Too Tall' Jones, Defensive End

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    Any man who attempted to become a professional boxer smack in the middle of his prime playing football has my vote for one of the baddest players to play the game.

    Ed Lee Jones stood at 6'9" and 271 pounds during his playing days.

    When he decided to retire at the age of 28 to try his hand at boxing, he recorded five knockouts. How bad is that?

    Jones used his length to bat down so many passes that the NFL decided to track it as an official stat.

    He was one of the best defensive linemen to ever do it and knock out his fair share men in the process.

Robert Newhouse, Fullback

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    Robert Newhouse was nicknamed "The Human Bowling Ball."

    Need I say any more?

    His thighs were 44" in circumference, and it was just about impossible to tackle him head on.

    Newhouse played fullback, opening holes for players like Calvin Hill, but he also led the Cowboys in rushing in 1975 with 930 yards.

    He was another player who had a grand on-the-field persona and lived up to what it was when he played.

    In my eyes, he was one of the baddest for the Cowboys.

Mike Ditka, Tight End

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    Before he was the loud-mouthed ESPN NFL analyst and the sweater-vest-wearing coach of the Bears, Mike Ditka played four years with the Cowboys.

    When Dallas beat the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, Ditka caught one of quarterback Roger Staubach's two touchdown passes.

    He's always been bold and brash, never hiding his inability to be politically correct.

    Ditka only played in Big D for four seasons, but he still talks about his time in Dallas.

    He was also such a big personality when he became a coach that its tough not to think of him as a tough guy. Remember the battles he had with Buddy Ryan?

    Reminds me of a guy that you wouldn't want to meet in a back alley. Well, at least not in the '80s.

Bob Lilly, Defensive Tackle

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    A former first-round pick and Hall of Fame player, Bob Lilly only missed one game throughout his 14-year career.

    He was one of the faces of the Cowboys' "Doomsday Defense" and was one of the great pass-rushers of his time.

    The most famous play from Bob Lilly is when he sacked the Miami Dolphins' Bob Griese for a 29-yard loss.

    One of the best to ever do it, Mr. Bob Lilly.

Randy White, Hybrid

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    I always refer to DeMarcus Ware as a hybrid because he can play end or linebacker. But Randy White played defensive tackle, linebacker and defensive end.

    He was the truest definition of a hybrid.

    White played in nine Pro Bowls, was a nine-time first-team All-Pro team selection and was one of the nastiest players to play for the 'Boys.

    Sporting News named him the 51st-best player of all time, and he won a Super Bowl most valuable player award in 1978.

    He is one of my favorite Cowboy players and was one of the greatest defensive players to ever play in the NFL.

Nate Newton, Offensive Guard

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    A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Nate Newton garnered the nickname "Nasty Nate" during his time in the NFL.

    Newton was a part of one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history. He aided the Cowboys in bringing three Super Bowls to Dallas in the '90s and blocked for the NFL's greatest rusher, Emmitt Smith.

    He was very charismatic on and off the field and kept quarterback Troy Aikman upright for his career.

    Nasty Nate had some trouble off the field after retirement, as he served time for drug trafficking. Since his release from prison, he has dropped almost 200 pounds and speaks to kids about his troubled past.

Rayfield Wright, Offensive Tackle

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    I may be stereotyping just a little here, but for an older man with the name of Rayfield, I automatically think of him as a tough guy.

    Mr. Rayfield Wright was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and was named to six straight Pro Bowls in the '70s.

    What makes Wright one of the baddest to do it for the Cowboys to me is that his name is Rayfield, and his nickname was “Big Cat.” That doesn’t scream “bad” to you?

    He was the anchor of the Cowboys' offensive line on the right side, and he helped to led them to Super Bowl victories in the '70s.

    To sum up his career, Roger Staubach told the AP (via ESPN): “If he got beat, I don’t remember it.”

    He was just that good.

Daryl 'Moose' Johnston, Fullback

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    Noticing a theme here? A lot of players with tough nicknames are making this list.

    Not really sure if I want to meet a guy nicknamed "Moose" in a bar or a back alley.

    Daryl Johnston opened up an innate amount of running holes for running back Emmitt Smith in the '90s.

    In the eyes of many Cowboys fans, he is one of the greatest fullbacks of all time.

    During his time in Dallas, Johnston made two Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls. Not bad for a fullback from Youngstown, New York, eh?

Darren Woodson, Safety

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    I'm going to show a little personal bias here because Darren Woodson was one of my favorite players when he was around.

    You dared not cross him because he would simply lay you out. He was a hard-hitting safety who took pride in his tough style of play.

    Woodson was an All-Pro selection four times, and he made it to five consecutive Pro Bowls.

    One of the most interesting parts of Woodson's career is that he broke the Cowboys' career tackling record against the Seahawks in 2002—the same day that Emmitt Smith became the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

    Darren Woodson was a class-act type of guy who would try to cave your chest in on Sundays.

Erik Williams, Offensive Tackles

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    You know, when talking about the baddest players of any team, one will probably find a number of offensive and defensive tackles. They are the ones in the mud, the trenches, protecting your favorite quarterback or trying to bring him down.

    Erik Williams was responsible for keeping Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman upright.

    Williams, or "Big E," is quite possibly one of the greatest offensive tackles to ever do it. He was just that good.

    He could fight with a player like Reggie White and hold him without a sack or spring Emmitt Smith for a 20-yard gain.

    Big E was in a car wreck where he almost lost his life, not to mention his NFL career. He came back to dominate the following year, but the injuries he suffered cut his career short.

    I will always remember big No. 79 with the caged face mask. He was a nasty player who once held the great Reggie White helpless.

Charles Haley, Defensive End

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    Charles Haley had 100.5 all-time sacks, and he retired in 1999. That places him 25th on the all-time sack leader list.

    Players like Simeon Rice, Jason Taylor, Michael Strahan, John Abraham and Jared Allen have had the chance to pass him on the list.

    Haley was the definition of nasty. No diss to him, but he looked nasty on the field and treated opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen like rag dolls.

    He is the only player in NFL history to play on five Super Bowl-winning teams. That isn't Hall of Fame-worthy?

    What holds him back from being recognized for his great play is his nasty nature. He was known for being violent both on and off the field and could be very obscene with reporters.

    No matter, Haley's play should do the talking for him. He was one of the great sack masters of his time and has a hand full of Super Bowl jewelry.

DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker

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    DeMarcus Ware is on his way to becoming one of the greatest Cowboys to ever play the game of football. Actually, he will probably be regarded as one of the best pass-rushers in NFL history when his career is done.

    Ware currently sits 29th on the list of all-time sack leaders, and he's only 29 years old.

    He has been named to six straight Pro Bowls, four All-Pro first-team selections and was a part of the NFL all decade team for the 2000s.

    Ware is a menace on the field and once recorded 20 sacks in a season. In 2011, he came close to tying his team record with 19.5.

    I believe he'll eventually end up with close to 200 sacks for his career.

    He is the best pass-rusher in the league right now and is obviously the best defensive weapon the Cowboys currently have.

Michael Irvin, Wide Receiver

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    Any guy who throws a garbage can at a television camera out of anger is bad.

    During his heyday in Dallas, Michael Irvin was flamboyant and brash. He did not understand or know the meaning of the word "filter." He said what was on his mind, and he did not care who it bothered.

    Besides his off-the-field exploits, he had a larger-than-life persona on the field as well. He was rough and sometimes treated cornerbacks like practice dummies.

    Irvin made it to five Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections and three Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame that same year.

    He was one of the Cowboys' leaders, and he set the tone for how they approached games.

    Irvin made plenty of missteps off the field, but he always came ready to work. He was nicknamed "The Playmaker," and that's exactly what he did on the field.

Deion Sanders, Cornerback

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    Deion Sanders not a menace on the field in terms of nasty or mean play, but he made wide receivers and quarterbacks quake in their cleats.

    "Primetime" is the greatest cornerback of all time and, he had some of best years as a Cowboy.

    Sanders won two Super Bowls during his playing days and made it to eight Pro Bowls.

    He recorded 53 interceptions and 22 touchdowns, and it could have been more if quarterbacks weren't so afraid to throw in his direction.

    Sanders is still, in my eyes, the definition of a shutdown cornerback. Quarterbacks did not dare throw in his direction.

    He locked down an entire side of the football field, and I have yet to see another cornerback do that in today's game.

    Sanders' time as a Cowboy was great, and he aided the Cowboys in winning their third Super Bowl of the 1990s.

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