FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Ron Widby, the punter for the Dallas Cowboys first two Super Bowl teams (1970 and 1971), passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, the Cowboys announced.
He was 75.
The team did not say how he died.
Widby punted for the Cowboys from 1968 to 1971 and was a member of the Cowboys first world championship team (Super Bowl VI) in 1971.
Widby was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1967 but began his career with the Cowboys in 1968 after a stellar career as a multi-sport athlete at the University of Tennessee.
While excelling for the Volunteers football and basketball teams for three years in an era where freshmen where not eligible to play varsity, he would also go on to earn letters in baseball and golf at Tennessee.
As a senior in college, he led the nation in punting average (43.8) while also scoring 22.1 points-per-game in basketball en route to being named the SEC’s player of the year.
Following college, he was drafted by the Saints (NFL), New Orleans Buccaneers (ABA) and the Chicago Bulls (NBA).
As a Dallas rookie in 1968, Widby registered an 84-yard punt in a game at the Saints (11/3/68), a mark that still stands as the longest punt in Cowboys history.
He averaged more than 40 yards-per-punt in each of his four seasons with the Cowboys, and in 1969 he finished second amongst his NFL peers with a career-best 43.3-yard average.
After wearing jersey #12 as a rookie, Widby voluntarily switched to jersey #10 in 1969 so rookie quarterback Roger Staubach could wear #12, the same number he wore while becoming a Heisman Trophy winner at the Naval Academy.
Widby was traded from Dallas to Green Bay after the 1971 season and played his final two years in the NFL with the Packers.
A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Widby (born March 9, 1945) was a rare three-sport professional athlete, playing one year in the ABA with New Orleans (1967-68) and also competing on the Senior PGA TOUR in the late 1990s.
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