Rayfield Wright, a Cowboy Hall of Fame lineup, has died at the age of 76

Rayfield Wright, a tough and agile offensive fight in the Hall of Fame for the Dallas Cowboys who participated in five Super Cup teams in the 1970s, then suffered from dementia for at least a decade, which he believed was most likely caused by repeated blows to the head, died Thursday. He was 76 years old.

The professional football hall of fame announced his death and said he had been hospitalized for several days due to the attack. It was not said where he died.

Between 1967 and 1979, Wright received a lot of concussions – “so many that I couldn’t even count them,” he told The New York Times in 2014. Like many former players, he struggled with his memory, cognitive problems and headaches.

“Sometimes I go into the kitchen and forget why I went there,” he said. “I got into several car accidents because of the seizures. Only two cars. My memory is bad. There is a big struggle inside me. “

With a height of 6 feet 7 and about 255 pounds, Wright has had a sublime presence in the right subdistrict, defending quarterback Roger Staubach and creating holes in the defensive line for runners such as Calvin Hill, Dwayne Thomas and Tony Dorset.

“I love blocking, I like contact,” said Wright, nicknamed the Big Cat for his athleticism, in 1973’s The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. there. But the greatest pleasure was putting my man on the ground. I’m above him, and the ball carrier is 10-15 yards below the field. “

Wright was a major All-Pro team three times, selected to participate in the Pro Bowl for six consecutive years and included in the NFL team, which operated throughout the decade of the 1970s. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2006.

Carl Ehler, a Minnesota Vikings defender who was one of Wright’s fiercest opponents and a member of the Hall of Fame himself, told the Associated Press before Wright’s introduction: “The all-day battle with Rayfield Wright is definitely not my idea of ​​a pleasant Sunday afternoon ”.

At Super Cup VI in 1972, the Cowboys scored 252 yards in a hurry – a Super Cup record at the time – on the road to victory over the Miami Dolphins 24-3. It was one of the Cowboys ’two Super Cup victories in the 1970s; they also lost three times.

“What we’ve done today is how you should play this game,” Wright told The Dayton Daily News. “Who will control everything ahead – that’s what’s important, with all others equal.”

He added: “We controlled them on the line, and that’s what happened.”

Larry Rayfield Wright was born on August 23, 1945 in Griffin, Georgia, about 35 miles south of Atlanta, and was raised by his mother, Opel Wright, and one of his grandmothers. Boy Scout, he recalled studying in eighth grade to memorize Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Dressed,” and said it prompted him to believe that life offered him a choice.

In high school, he excelled in basketball but did not get on the football team until his final year. Playing basketball at Fort Valley State College (now the University of Georgia), he scored an average of 20 points and 21 rebounds per game and attracted the interest of the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) of the National Basketball Association. He was also a free security guard, player, defensive and tight end for the football team and was selected by Dallas as a tight end in the 1967 NFL Draft.

“He was a great competitor, talented and smart, and he could run; you could get away with it if you played with it in a wide receiver, ”said Gil Brandt, former Cowboy Personnel Director, in a telephone interview.

Wright was a reserve time-end for the Cowboys for two seasons when coach Tom Landry transferred him to the right podcast to replace the injured Ralph Neely. In his first start to the position, in 1969, he faced Deacon Jones, a fear in defending the Los Angeles Rams.

“Hey, boy,” he later recalled of Jones’s greeting. “Do you know, Mom, that you’re here?”

“What does my mom have to do with this?” Wright remembered thinking to himself that it had distracted him so much that for a moment he lost concentration when the ball was bounced. Jones instantly tapped his huge right hand on Wright’s helmet, sending him back to the turf.

“It was as if I had just been hit on the head with a baseball cap,” he told The Times.

It was probably his first concussion, he said, at a time when the NFL didn’t take the head injury seriously and players were encouraged to return to the game as soon as possible.

Wright continued to play at a high level for most of the next 10 years until foot problems reduced his effectiveness. He was released by the Cowboys in 1980 and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he resigned before playing with them.

Among the survivors are his wife, Dee; his daughters, Courtney Minor, Anitra Hernandez and Ariel Wright; his sons, Larry and Larry Jr., and his brother Lamar

Retired Wright was a motivational speaker and set up a fund to help children receive grants to enter college.

In 2012, he was diagnosed with dementia. That year, he and a group of former cowboys joined thousands of other retired players in filing a lawsuit for a concussion against the NFL, accusing the league of hiding the link between repeated blows to the head and degenerative brain disease. players.

They were joined in a class action lawsuit in federal court that was settled in 2015, providing payments of up to $ 5 million to individual players who have one of several severe neurological and cognitive disorders.

“I’m scared,” Wright said of his dementia in a 2014 interview with the Times. “I don’t want that to happen.” Wiping away the tears, he added, “I just want to know why this is happening to me.”

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