The New York Post reports that Don Perkins, the former National Football League (NFL) running back, has died at the age of 84.
Perkins’s death was announced by the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL team that Perkins played for during the 1960s. A cause of death, though, was not provided.
Perkins’s path to the NFL
Perkins, who was born in Waterloo, Iowa, would go on to attend and play football for the University of Mexico where he was a standout player. He played for the Lobos from 1957 to 1959, serving as the team’s captain during his final two seasons.
Perkins was an All-American in 1959, and he ended up having his No. 43 jersey number retired by the school.
It was clear at the time that Perkins was destined for the NFL.
In 1960, Perkins was the ninth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts, but he actually ended up on the roster of the Cowboys, which at the time was an expansion team. The Cowboys got the rights to Perkins in exchange for a ninth-round draft pick.
Perkins’s Cowboys years
Perkins’s NFL career got off to a rather inauspicious start with him missing the 1960 season due to a broken foot. But, he would go on to have an all-time great career.
Perkins played for the Cowboys from 1961 through 1968, and, during that time, he played in 107 games, rushing for 6,217 yards, which puts him in fourth place in the Cowboys’ franchise history, behind Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, and Ezekiel Elliot. Perkins also scored 42 rushing touchdowns, putting him in fifth place in team history.
During his 1961 rookie season, Perkins earned the NFL Rookie of the Year award.
Perkins also went to the Pro Bown six times, and he was inducted into the Cowboys’ ring of honor in 1976.
“A tremendous ambassador”
Eddie Nuñez, the athletic director for the University of Mexico, put out a statement following the news of Perkins’s death, referring to Perkins as “a tremendous ambassador.”
“Don is one of the greatest Lobos, and certainly one of the greatest football players to play for UNM. He was a tremendous student-athlete, and he had a terrific career in the NFL, but he was more than that,” Nuñez said. “He came back to New Mexico and worked for the state and was a tremendous ambassador for so many.”