|Birthdate:||June 28, 1936|
|Team/Year:||Chicago Bears; 1958-1959|
|MVP:||Super Bowl V|
Chuck Howley initially retired after the 1959 season, which may come as a surprise to fans who see his name honored in the Dallas Cowboys' Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium. After all, the Cowboys didn't play their first game until 1960.
Howley had been a star athlete at West Virginia University, lettering in diving, track, gymnastics, and wrestling. He also was a three-year All-Southern Conference selection in football. The Chicago Bears selected him in the first round of the 1958 NFL draft. But three games into the 1959 season, he injured his left knee so badly that his career appeared over. In 1960, he managed a gas station in Wheeling, West Virginia.
However in the spring of 1961, he played in a West Virginia alumni game and his knee felt fine. Howley decided to give the NFL another shot.
One of Howley's former Bears teammates, who was playing for Dallas, recommended Howley to the Cowboys. Dallas signed Howley, and he made an immediate impact on the fledgling franchise.
Howley had a reputation as a risk-taking, big-play defender. Relying on exceptional speed, remarkable agility, and a sixth sense for where the ball was headed, he and Hall of Fame tackle Bob Lilly were sometimes allowed to freelance in the Cowboys' otherwise disciplined defense. Howley was an all-pro from 1966-1970 and went to six Pro Bowls.
In Super Bowl V, he had two interceptions against the Baltimore Colts and became the first player to be named the MVP while playing for the losing team. In 1971, he helped Dallas win Super Bowl VI.