Lee Roy Jordan tackled many challenges throughout his pro football career with the Dallas Cowboys. So it is fitting Jordan, who played middle linebacker during his 14-year career with the Cowboys at just 6-1, 215 pounds, still ranks as the franchise's all-time leading tackler.
Jordan, an All-American at Alabama taken with the team's top pick in the 1963 draft, was a key member of the Cowboys' famed "Doomsday Defense." The 14-seasons he played in Dallas ties him with four others for the second longest playing tenure in franchise history.
In his 14 seasons, Jordan became a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler while playing in three Super Bowls and five NFC Championship games. After a 13-year wait following his retirement, Jordan became the seventh member of the Cowboys' exclusive Ring of Honor in 1989.
Amazingly, more than 25 years after his retirement, Jordan still holds Cowboys records for career solo tackles with 743, is second in career assisted tackles with 493 and, of course, holds the career combined tackles record with 1,236. Jordan still holds the third and fourth highest totals of solo tackles in a single season with 100 in 1975 and 97 in 1968.
The dominating middle linebacker's 14 solo tackles against Philadelphia on Oct. 28, 1973, ranks him tied for third on the club's all-time list. And Jordan also is tied for the franchise's single-game interception lead with three, coming against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1973. That game helped Jordan finish seventh on the Cowboys' career interception list with 32.
Not only was Jordan an able defender against the run and pass, he also had a penchant for recovering loose footballs. He remains tied for second in club history with 16 career fumble recoveries.
His leadership and competitiveness are what made Jordan such a great player, according to late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry.
"He was a great competitor," Landry once said. "He was not big for a middle linebacker, but because of his competitiveness, he was able to play the game and play it well. His leadership was there and he demanded a lot out of the people around him as he did of himself."
Born April 27, 1941, in Excel, Ala.
|*Official tackle and sack stats not tabulated until 1979.|