Willie Townes

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Willie Townes
No. 71
Defensive end, Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1943-07-21) July 21, 1943 (age 71)
Place of birth: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school: Rowan High School
College: Tulsa
NFL Draft: 1966 / Round: 2 / Pick: 22
Debuted in 1966 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last played in 1970 for the New Orleans Saints
Career history
*Inactive and/or offseason member only
Career highlights and awards
  • Honorable Mention All-American (1964)
  • 2× All-MVC (1964, 1965)
  • MVC sophomore of the year (1964)
Career NFL statistics
Games 38
Safety 1
Touchdowns 1
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Willie Carroll Townes (born July 21, 1943 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) is a former professional American football defensive end in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1966 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Tulsa.

Early years[edit]

Townes was born on July 21, 1943 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and played high school football at Rowan High School. He signed with Indiana University but ended up transferring to the University of Tulsa, where he became one of the best defensive linemen in school's history.

He was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection at defensive tackle in 1964 and 1965. Also named the MVC's sophomore of the year in 1964 as selected by United Press International.

The 1964 team beat Mississippi 14-7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl, where he received the game’s outstanding lineman trophy.[1] He also was an honorable mention All-American selection and a member of that year's All-Bowl team. In 1965 he was an All-American candidate,[2] but ankle and knee injuries limited him that year.

Townes passed up his senior year in 1966 to enter the NFL, when he became eligible for the draft, because he was a redshirt player whose class had graduated.[3]

In 1986, he was inducted into the University of Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Townes was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1966 NFL Draft and also in the first round of the 1966 AFL Redshirt Draft by the Boston Patriots of the American Football League.[5][6] He started his professional career as a defensive tackle, but in the middle of his rookie season, he was moved to left defensive end,[7] replacing Larry Stephens in the starting lineup. At the end of the year he was considered one of the top rookies in the league and a rising star.[8]

He is perhaps best known for causing Bart Starr to fumble in the 1967 NFL Championship Game, commonly known as the Ice Bowl. The fumble was picked up and returned for a touchdown by defensive end George Andrie.

Townes played in only 5 games during the 1968 season, after suffering a serious hamstring injury and was replaced in the starting line up by rookie Larry Cole, who would not relinquish the position back.

He missed the entire 1969 season due to the same injury.[9] Citing health and weight problems as a major reason for their decision, the Cowboys traded him for a fourth round draft choice to the New Orleans Saints on September 9, 1970.[10]

The NFL didn't start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official stat until 1982; however the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. According to the Cowboys' stats, Townes is unofficially credited with a total of 9 sacks during his 1966 season, tying him with Harvey Martin for the most by a Cowboys rookie in franchise history. With 15 sacks, he is also tied with Larry Cole for the third most sacks (behind Demarcus Ware and Harvey Martin) recorded by a Cowboys player in his first two years in the NFL.

New Orleans Saints[edit]

Townes was released on January 25, 1971, after appearing in just six games with the New Orleans Saints

New York Giants[edit]

He finished his NFL career after he was released by the New York Giants on August 24, 1971.[11] During his short career he played in 38 games, recorded 1 safety and scored 1 touchdown.

Personal life[edit]

In 1982, he filed a malpractice lawsuit against the Dallas Cowboys.[12]

References[edit]