From humble beginnings Rayfield Wright "Big Cat" is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform.
Playing 13 seasons and more than 200 games with the Dallas Cowboys only nine players have played football for the Dallas Cowboys longer than Rayfield Wright. Throughout the decade of the 1970’s, Wright was acknowledged as the NFL's premier offensive tackle.
Wright was selected to six straight Pro Bowls (1971-76) as a tackle while earning All-Pro honors four times and earning recognition on the NFL's all-decade team for the 1970’s capped off by his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Larry Rayfield Wright was born in 1945 in Griffin, Georgia. Raised fatherless in the Deep South by his mother and grandmother, Rayfield became a dedicated student, an Eagle Scout and an outstanding multiple sport athlete.
At Fairmont High School Rayfield starred primarily in basketball. He initially failed to make the football team and did not play football until his senior year at Fairmont High School.
1962 Fairmont High School Basketball Team
Willie Simmons, James Walker, Leroy Blanton, Rayfield Wright, Damon Coggins, and Charles Daniels
Rayfield Wright was inducted into the Griffin, Georgia Hall of Fame in 1974.
Fort Valley State College
Rayfield Wright attended Fort Valley State College on a basketball and football
As a star for the Wildcats in both basketball and football he became All Conference in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).
An unbelievable athlete, Rayfield averaged 20+ in points and 20+ rebounds in basketball while excelling at multiple positions in football before settling in as an outstanding tight end at Fort Valley State.
Both the NFL (Dallas Cowboys) and the NBA (Cincinnati Royals) were interested in drafting Rayfield to play for their teams.
In 1983, he was inducted into the Fort Valley State College Hall of Fame.
Rayfield Wright was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
In 1967, Rayfield Wright was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round as a tight end out of Fort Valley State College.
Another gem uncovered by Gil Brandt, Wright emerged from Fort Valley State and became a six-time Pro Bowler who anchored the Cowboys’ offensive line throughout the 1970s. The 6’6", 255-pounder actually began his pro career as a tight end and spent his first three seasons at the position before moving to the line in 1970.
In 1968 playing tight end Rayfield Wright caught a 15 yard touchdown pass (his first NFL touchdown) from Don
Meredith for the Dallas Cowboys against
the Philadelphia Eagles at the Cotton Bowl.
Years later, in a discussion between the two Cowboys greats Rayfield asked Meredith if he remembered that pass...
Always a quick wit Meredith responded, "Hell Rayfield, I wasn't throwing you the ball. You're so damn tall you just got in the way!"
Throughout the decade of the 1970’s, Wright was acknowledged as the NFL's premier offensive tackle. His blocking and leadership as the team's co-captain for
seven years helped the Cowboys win 10 division titles and six conference crowns.
Only nine players have played football for the Dallas Cowboys longer than Rayfield Wright, and only five players in the history of the Cowboys organization have been to more Pro Bowls than Wright’s six selections.
Rayfield Wright participated in five Super Bowls as a leader of the Dallas Cowboys, claiming the ultimate prize twice in Super Bowl VI and XII. Only one other player in NFL history has appeared in more
Super Bowls than Rayfield Wright, and he is one of only 13 players in NFL history to have played in five Super Bowls.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Rayfield Wright was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 where permanent tribute is given to the men who have reached the zenith of their profession. Raised fatherless by his mother and grandmother in the 1940's/50's Deep South the odds were stacked against him taller than his 6-foot-6 frame.
Rayfield Wright, an imposing man of integrity, commitment and hard work who once unbelievably failed to make his high school football team at Fairmont High School in Griffin, Georgia took the road less traveled, accepted the opportunities to contribute and accepted the challenges to overcome to become one of the greatest players to ever wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Rayfield summed it up best in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, "To every young athlete within the sound of my voice, it takes courage to dream your dream. Don't let them sit in the locker room. Take a leap of faith. Listen to your parents and respect your elders. Learn from your successes and your losses. Defeat is possible and as a challenge to do better next time. Be satisfied you gave the game everything that you had and remember this: Don't be afraid to travel the road less traveled because Larry Rayfield Wright did, and you can, too."