Ring of Honor: Chuck Howley

ROH-Chuck-Howley-hero

Coming to the Cowboys in a trade with the Chicago Bears in 1961 after once having given up on his NFL career, Chuck Howley became one of the greatest outside linebackers in Cowboys history and the only player to win Super Bowl MVP honors while on the losing team.

Howley's outstanding speed and agility enabled him to intercept 25 passes for 399 yards during his 14 seasons with the Cowboys while playing linebacker. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and earned six All-Pro selections in a row, enough to become the fourth player in franchise history inducted into the Ring of Honor (1976).

"Sometimes we allow certain people like Chuck or Bob Lilly to vary from our defensive pattern," late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry once said. "People like Chuck can often do this and get away with it because of their outstanding athletic ability."

Two years after being drafted by the Bears with a first-round pick in 1958, Howley retired from football because of a knee injury, and began working at a gas station. However, in the spring of 1961, Howley tested the knee in a West Virginia University alumni game and decided to try pro football again. The Cowboys were interested, and traded two future picks (1963) to acquire the rights to the one-time multi-sport star at West Virginia.

What a trade it turned out to be, Howley ending up playing 14 seasons for the Cowboys, tying him for the second longest tenure in franchise history. Howley would play in two NFL Championship games and two Super Bowls. He still holds the distinction of being a member of the Cowboys' first Super Bowl-winning team, winning Super Bowl VI over the Miami Dolphins, and having earned MVP honors in Super Bowl V despite losing the game to the Baltimore Colts.

Howley was a five-sport letterman at West Virginia, including the Southern Conference one-meter diving champion, a sprinter on the track team, and excelled in gymnastics and wrestling. In football, Howley was All-Southern Conference for three years and was named Southern Conference Athlete of the Year his junior year.

"I just hope I can be considered the best at my position," Howley said once said. "I gave what I could. You look back on life and think, was there more I could have done. I don't know that I could have."

Born June 28, 1936, in Wheeling, West Virginia.

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