View Full Version : Cowboys' Woodson calls it a career

12-30-2004, 10:13 AM

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Since 1992, teams playing the Dallas Cowboys always paid attention to Darren Woodson.

No more.

The hard-hitting safety retired Wednesday. He has been out the entire season after having back surgery just before training camp.

The departure of the man whose 1,350 tackles are the most-ever for the team ends a significant era in Cowboys history: Woodson was the last player left from the 1992, '93 and '95 Super Bowl champions and the last drafted and groomed by Jimmy Johnson.

Woodson's legacy goes further, though, because he also was a classy representative of the franchise during an era when several high-profile teammates weren't. About the worst thing he did was urge fans to drink more before home games so they would cheer louder.

"For 13 years, he was everything you could ask for - unselfish, reliable, dependable, a team player first and a team leader always," owner Jerry Jones said. "He's a living, breathing example of the saying that character does matter."

Woodson stressed how much he appreciated being part of the Dallas organization.

"It was special to have that star on my helmet, knowing that everywhere we go we're going to get everybody's best shot," he said. "That's what it meant to be a Cowboy."

Woodson was looking forward to his 13th season when the herniated disc was discovered. What was supposed to be a half-season setback ended up leading to a nerve problem that made a return impossible.

He knew about a month ago when he tried running backwards and couldn't do it right. The look on the trainer's face combined with his own disappointment sent him home to discuss his future with his wife.

He leaves with two years left on his contract.

"My ideal retirement was playing in the Super Bowl," Woodson said. "There's 20 seconds left, I intercept a pass and run it in, then I tell Jerry, `I'm done.' "

Woodson's wife and three children attended the news conference, as did an impressive group of former teammates: Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston, Charles Haley, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith and Chad Hennings. Woodson said he spoke with Emmitt Smith for nearly three hours Tuesday.

Woodson was a rookie when Dallas won the first of its titles under Jones. By his fourth season, he'd won three.

The Cowboys have won just one playoff game since, but Woodson kept his grumbling behind closed doors. Jones thanked Woodson for being loyal to all four coaches since Johnson.

"Now that I've got to know him, I think he's one of those people that you really think a lot of," said current coach Bill Parcells, who first admired Woodson from afar.

"He's the epitome of a professional, what he did in playing and his approach to the game. I have a high regard for him personally as well."

12-30-2004, 12:41 PM
He had nothing left to prove and was a class act on a team not known for class acts....good luck in the future DW :thup:

12-30-2004, 04:10 PM
IIRC, our own Mobes and DW have remained good friends.

12-31-2004, 12:12 AM
One of the few Cowboys I enjoyed watching... then again, I didn't enjoy watching the Cowboys often, considering the damage they did to my team.