James Washington

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For other people named James Washington, see James Washington (disambiguation).
James Washington
No. 37
Position: Safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1965-01-10) January 10, 1965 (age 50)
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California
Career information
High school: Jordan (CA)
College: UCLA
NFL draft: 1988 / Round: 5 / Pick: 137
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 114
Interceptions: 17
Tackles: 458
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

James McArthur Washington (born January 10, 1965) is a former American football safety for the UCLA Bruins and in the National Football League (NFL). Currently he is a co-host of FOX Sports Radio's flagship morning show Out Of Bounds with Craig Shemon.[1] Nicknamed "J-Dub" on the radio, his nickname was "Drive-by" in the NFL for "his fierce hits on defenseless receivers".[2]

Early years[edit]

Washington played high school football in Jordan High School, then played college football at UCLA.

Washington was a redshirt freshman starter for the UCLA Bruins, where he was a standout defensive back. He played for five seasons.[3] He played in the 1984 Rose Bowl, 1985 Fiesta Bowl, 1986 Rose Bowl, 1986 Freedom Bowl, and 1987 Aloha Bowl. He was the co-most valuable player of the game in the 1985 Fiesta Bowl. Washington has a BA degree in history from UCLA and is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Professional career[edit]

Los Angeles Rams[edit]

Washington was drafted in the fifth round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He dropped in the NFL draft because he tore a knee ligament as a junior, and he tore the same ligament as a senior.

Playing sparingly during his first two years in the league, the Rams left him unprotected—eligible to sign with any team that wanted him—under Plan B free agency at the end of the 1989 season.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

He signed on with the Dallas Cowboys, where he became one of the hardest hitting defensive backs in the league and even though his natural position was free safety, he was used most of the time as a strong safety for this reason. In Dallas, he was reunited with Troy Aikman, a teammate at UCLA.

He started for the Cowboys four out of five years and led the team in interceptions each of those starting years. He was the signal caller for the Cowboys when they were the top-ranked defense in the league (1992 and 1994).

He lost his starting spot during training camp for the 1993 season because of the emergence of second year safety Darren Woodson. Throughout that year, Washington was a reserve and nickel defensive back. In Super Bowl XXVIII the Buffalo Bills ran a three receiver single back formation. The Cowboys base defense most of the day would be in nickel (5 defensive backs) so Washington started the game at free safety. He made the best of this starting opportunity by recording a fumble returned for a touchdown, causing a fumble that was recovered by Leon Lett and an interception.

Washington would regain a full-time starting position the following season (1994) at free safety with the departure of Thomas Everett.

Washington Redskins[edit]

In 1995 he signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins, but would play only 12 games and end his career after that single season. That season included an incident at the infamous green fence at RFK Stadium, in which Washington attempted to punch a Redskin fan who was giving him grief for his subpar play the prior week.

Washington played in the NFL for eight seasons. He intercepted 17 passes.

Super Bowl XXVIII[edit]

One of his most notable performances was in Super Bowl XXVIII when Thurman Thomas, after being tackled by Leon Lett, fumbled the ball, Washington returned it for a 46 yard touchdown to tie the game.

He also made a team-high 11 tackles, had an interception that eventually became an Emmit Smith touchdown and knocked Andre Reed to the sidelines for a brief recovery (delivering a message to the Bills receivers).

His performance was so dominating, that he received strong MVP consideration.

Halftime fight incident[edit]

While playing for the Cowboys, Washington was briefly the subject of notoriety for his part in an on-field fight during halftime at a November 7, 1994, game against the New York Giants in Dallas. The player grabbed the camera and monopod of Dallas Morning News photographer David Leeson in an attempt to defend teammate Alvin Harper. Although Washington did not strike anyone with the equipment, he was fined for his actions, as were Michael Irvin, Cowboys assistant coach Hubbard Alexander, and Giants players Tito Wooten and Jarvis Williams.[4][5][6] The event was so memorable to local sports journalists that they not only included it in a year-end roundup,[7] but were still writing about it two years later.[8] "There were a lot of Giants, and I didn't see any of my teammates," Washington said at the time. "I just felt me and Michael were being rushed, and I wanted to keep them off Michael. It was foolish. I didn't hit anybody with it, but there was really no reason for it."[7]

Fox Sports on-air[edit]

He was the co-host of FOX Sports Radio's flagship morning show Out Of Bounds with Craig Shemon.[1] He was also featured on foxsports net's interactive video college football breakdowns. Washington still serves as an analyst during UCLA football games for Fox Sports. Washington produces and host the UCLA coaches show that air FSN.

Shelter 37[edit]

SHELTER 37, Inc. was founded by Washington in 1993 as a not-for-profit public benefit corporation that provides quality after-school enrichment and life skills programs in southern California.

Return to UCLA[edit]

On April 26, 2010, Washington was named Director of Scholarships[9] He is responsible for raising scholarship funds for the campus and increasing the visibility of the Bruin Scholars Initiative.


  1. ^ a b http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/865321
  2. ^ Craig and James Who's who
  3. ^ UCLA Bruins football media guide (PDF copy available at www.uclabruins.com)
  4. ^ Randy Galloway. "Switzer picks wrong time to roll dice," The Dallas Morning News, November 8, 1994.
  5. ^ Rick Telander. "Stuffed! In a battle for NFC supremacy, the 49ers stopped the Cowboys dead in their tracks," Sports Illustrated, November 21, 1994 (81:21), page 20.
  6. ^ Bob Glauber. "The safety issue has to be tackled and won," NFL Report column, The Sporting News, November 21, 1994.
  7. ^ a b "Hits, hurts, and happenings: Cowboys' season has a little of everything," The Dallas Morning News, December 28, 1994, page 8B.
  8. ^ "Sports Day memo," The Dallas Morning News, May 12, 1996, page 2B (article about photographer Leeson).
  9. ^ James Washington Hired by UCLA, UCLA press release, April 23, 2010.

External links[edit]