Don Perkins Dies at Age 84; Former Cowboys RB Won 1961 NFL Rookie of the Year

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2022

Dallas Cowboys former player Don Perkins before a halftime ceremony during an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)
AP Photo/Sharon Ellman

The Dallas Cowboys announced Thursday night that former Pro Bowl running back Don Perkins died at the age of 84.

Perkins spent his entire eight-year NFL career from 1961 to 1968 with the Cowboys, earning six Pro Bowl selections, one first-team All-Pro nod and NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 1961.

The Cowboys inducted Perkins into their Ring of Honor in 1976.

Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts out of the University of New Mexico in 1960, Perkins never appeared in a game for the franchise, as he had signed a contract with the Cowboys before the draft.

The Waterloo, Iowa, native spent time as both a halfback and fullback in Dallas, rushing for 6,217 yards and 42 touchdowns to go along with 146 receptions for 1,310 yards and three scores in 107 career regular-season games.

Perkins, who also rushed for 284 yards and three touchdowns in four career playoff games, ranks fourth in Cowboys history in career rushing yardage and fifth in rushing touchdowns, placing behind only Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Ezekiel Elliott and Marion Barber III in the latter category.

Prior to joining the NFL, Perkins was a three-time All-Skyline player at New Mexico and a 1959 third-team All-American as a two-way player at running back and defensive back.

In addition to being part of the second Cowboys Ring of Honor class along with quarterback Don Meredith, Perkins is a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, earning induction in 2006.