divested themselves were that not so."
Makes you wonder, doesn't it.
Destiny is one thing, but not tripping over it is quite another. So while all this that happened to Rayfield might can be written off as a God-send, it was Rayfield who executed the plan after that 1969 day when Landry told him, "Rayfield, I'm moving you to offensive tackle," a position he had never played.
Think about that today. If a coach told a tight end, someone who was going to touch the ball, a prerequisite usually to making top dollar in the NFL, to play a position you were not even allowed to touch the ball, there would be hell raised. A walkout. A trade demand. Maybe a request for a further financial commitment.
But Rayfield, unh-uh.
"I was never one to question the authority of elders," said Rayfield, who would tell Landry that if he thought this was the best thing for him, if he believed he could succeed at tackle, then a tackle he would be.
Good decision. Rayfield would become part of one of the greatest teams in NFL history, having dominated the late 60's and the decade of the 70's, maybe not by winning ultimate championships, but by its sustained success over this entire period of time.
He loves telling you this story about his first game in the NFL at offensive tackle. As the story goes, the Cowboys were playing the Los Angeles Rams. He was lined up against one of the most fearsome of the Rams' famed "Fearsome Foursome," Hall of Famer himself, Deacon Jones. His quarterback, Roger Staubach, was calling out the signals. He recalls how he was taught not to listen to anything but those signals; to block out everything else.
But as Staubach paused his count, he heard this deep voice, as if coming from above, shaking his soul: "Boy, does your mama know where you are?"
Distracted, Deacon pancaked Rayfield. Just swept him aside.
Welcome to the offensive line, Rayfield.
But that was then, and this is now. All-Decade. Six-time Pro Bowler. Five Super Bowls, having won two, and on and on and on, culminating in this:
Pro Football Hall of Famer.
As Coach Lomax said of Rayfield, "Primarily he had two admonitions. One: Thou shalt not touch Roger. The second was: Thou must not impede the forward progress of Calvin or Tony."
So knowing Deacon was sitting behind him, one of the some 70 Hall of Famers who returned for the induction ceremony, which included his former teammates Staubach, Tony Dorsett and Mel Renfro, Rayfield got in the last word:
"Deacon Jones, thank you for the gracious welcome into the NFL. In case you are wondering, the answer is yes, my mother knows I'm here."
Here, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame forever more.
"Don't be afraid to travel the road less traveled," because Rayfield Wright did, and you can too."
Rejoice. God knows Rayfield still is.