In 1964, Bob Hayes earned the title "World's Fastest Human" by winning two gold medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. This world-class speed would make him one of the most dynamic receivers in Dallas Cowboys history.
Hayes was drafted in the seventh round in 1964 as a futures selection, the same draft that yielded the Cowboys Mel Renfro and Roger Staubach. To this day, Hayes holds ten regular-season receiving records, four punt return records and 22 overall franchise marks, making him one of the greatest receivers to ever play for the Dallas Cowboys.
"He changed the game because of his speed," Hall of Fame coach Don Shula said. "He wasn't just the world's fastest human, he was a great athlete and football player. Put that together, and he made you change everything on your defense when you played the Cowboys."
"Bullet" Bob Hayes was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a four-time All-Pro selection. Hayes played in two Super Bowls, winning the title following the 1971 season, the first world championship for the franchise.
An indelible image of Hayes's electrifying speed came in 1971 at Yankee Stadium when Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach threw a 20-yard pass to Hayes that turned into an 85-yard touchdown. Hayes caught the ball even with cornerback Spider Lockhart, and in the next 65 yards built a 10-yard lead.
"It was very exciting having him in the offense," Staubach said. "He had the great speed, and he knew what to do with it."
Hayes was a two-sport star in college at Florida A&M, excelling in football and track. He would miss part of his senior season at Florida A&M to compete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
In 1965, his rookie season with Dallas, Hayes became the franchise's only rookie to lead the team in receptions with 46 and in reception yards with 1,003. And in doing so, Hayes became the first player in franchise history to total more than 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. He finished his rookie year with a franchise-record 12 receiving touchdowns and a franchise-record 13 total touchdowns. As of 2002, Hayes still held or was tied for 22 franchise records, including 71 career touchdown receptions and a career 20.0 yards-per-catch average.
In one of the most emotional Ring of Honor induction ceremonies, Bob Hayes, on Sept. 23, 2001 - 12 days after the tragic World Trade Center collapse - became the 11th member enshrined at Texas Stadium.
"He redefined what the position was all about," former teammate and NFL coach Mike Ditka said. "We need to get him in the Hall of Fame."
Born Dec. 20, 1942, in Jacksonville, Fla., died Sept. 19, 2002 after a long battle with prostate cancer and liver ailments.