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Focusing On No. 88: Counting Down Days To Training Camp
IRVING, Texas – While the focus remains heavily on the draft and free agency, it won’t be too long before the Cowboys report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif.
It’ll be a longer camp and preseason this year with the Cowboys playing five exhibition games, including the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. That pushes up the start date to camp, meaning the pads will be coming on before too long.
So as we count down the days to camp, let’s take a light-hearted look at the significance of each number as we stroll through the years of Cowboys football, continuing today with No. 88:
- When it comes to being a star receiver for the Cowboys, No. 88 is the route to take. Drew Pearson wore the number from 1973-83, and Michael Irvin donned the No. 88 from 1988-99. After a breakout 2012 season, it’s possible Dez Bryant can eventually reach or surpass the numbers those two former stars put up. Pearson and Irvin are two of the team’s three leaders in all-time yardage at wide receiver, along with Tony Hill.
- Go back to the 1964 NFL Draft to find the only time the Cowboys have selected the 88th overall pick. That selection was wide receiver and eventual Hall of Famer Bob Hayes. The Cowboys turned the Olympic sprinter into an electric football threat, getting enshrined in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor in 2001 and getting inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Hayes currently sits fifth all-time in receiving for the Cowboys, behind Irvin, Hill, Jason Witten and Pearson.
- Speaking of Irvin, the University of Miami product came to Dallas as the 11th selection in the ’88 NFL Draft. Ken Norton, Jr. was the next pick in that draft. The linebacker would help the Cowboys win two straight Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXVII, before heading to San Francisco for the remainder of his career from 1994-2000.
- Herschel Walker compiled by far his best statistical season in 1988, rushing for 1,514 yards and adding on another 505 receiving yards. To put that in perspective, no Cowboys running back has ever reached the 1,500-yard rushing mark since Emmitt Smith in 1995. Walker had 623 more yards in the ’88 season than he had in 1987. The Cowboys’ leading rusher in 1989, Paul Palmer, finished with just 446 yards.
- The 1988 team won’t want to be on this list, but it tied the 1960 team for the most consecutive games lost in franchise history (10). After starting the season 2-2, the Cowboys lost 10 straight before beating Washington in the 15th game of the year.
- The Cowboys also set the record for most penalties in a season in 1998 (141) and the most penalties in a game (17) against Cleveland.
- On a more positive note in the ’98 season, Tom Landry tied an NFL record held by Curly Lambeau by coaching in his 29th consecutive season with the same team.