|Date of birth:||January 21, 1952|
|Place of birth:||Savannah, Georgia|
|College:||Austin Peay State|
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at NFL.com|
Percy Lenard Howard (born January 21, 1952 in Savannah, Georgia) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys in 1975. He was an unlikely star for the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.
Howard attended Dillard High School where he participated in basketball, football and Track and Field, specializing in the 100 and 200 yard dash. He went on to play college basketball at Austin Peay University, where he averaged 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during three varsity seasons (1972-73 through 1974-75). The 6-4, 215-pound forward was an All-OVC selection in 1974-75 and averaged seven points and seven rebounds per game in four NCAA Tournament contests in 1973 and 1974. He was also a teammate of the legendary James "Fly" Williams.
Although Howard didn't play football at Austin Peay University, the Dallas Cowboys saw a tremendous athlete and signed him to an undrafted free agent contract in 1975. With that contract, Howard became one of only a handful of college athletes to reach the NFL without playing any college football.
In the first preseason game, while returning a kick against the Los Angeles Rams, his cheekbone was fractured when one of his teammates knocked a defender into his path just as he was speeding toward a hole. The injury delayed his development several weeks, but he still made the team as a wide receiver and kickoff returner. Howard was the third receiver on the Cowboys during the 1975 season, unfortunately for him, the top two receivers Drew Pearson and Golden Richards played virtually every offensive snap, and the Cowboys did not use formations with three receivers. He played primarily on special teams during the regular season, and his only statistical contributions were a pair of kickoff returns for 51 total yards.
That season the team reached Super Bowl X, which ended up being something of a homecoming for Howard, because the Cowboys were encamped in Fort Lauderdale. In fact, when the Dallas charter landed at the airport, the Dillard High School marching band was there to greet him.
Late in Super Bowl X, Howard got a rare opportunity to play on offense, when Richards broke a rib. With the Pittsburgh Steelers leading by 11 points with less than two minutes to go, Howard caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach over Mel Blount, cutting the deficit to four points. A late turnover by the Steelers gave the Cowboys a shot to win the game at the end, and Howard was again involved on a last-second Hail Mary pass by Staubach, however he had three Steelers on him, and when he leaped to make the catch, the ball was tipped away.
The following year big things were expected from Howard, but in a 1976 preseason game against the Denver Broncos, he severely injured his right knee while running a reverse. He spent the rest of the season rehabilitating the knee, only to be injured again during a practice in the 1977 training camp, causing him to miss the entire season. He would never recover from his injury and the Cowboys eventually released him in 1978.
The 34 yard touchdown catch in Super Bowl X, turned out to be Howard's only career reception and his last game in the NFL. Still, he would become part of the Cowboys lore and was named #6 on NFL Top 10's Top Ten One-Shot Wonders.