DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys legend and Ring of Honor member, Don Perkins, has died at 84 years old, according to the team.
He's considered to be the Cowboys' first great running back in the franchise's history.
Perkins played eight seasons in the NFL – all with the Cowboys in the 1960s – and was inducted to Cowboys' Ring of Honor in 1976, along with his quarterback, Don Meredith.
Perkins was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1960, but he had signed a contract with the Cowboys before the draft. The NFL allowed Perkins to suit up for Cowboy nation in exchange of a ninth-round pick to the Colts.
In his eight seasons, Perkins ran for 6,217 yards and 42 touchdowns, which both still rank fourth in franchise history.
The Cowboys released the following statement on their website:
"Unfortunately, Perkins' death is yet another blow to the Cowboys' family. He's the second Ring of Honor member to pass away recently, along with Rayfield Wright. Back in January, the Cowboys lost former players Dan Reeves and Ralph Neely. Marion Barber passed away last week and the Cowboys have lost former running backs coach Gary Brown, as well as former scouting director Larry Lacewell. Jerry Jones' personal assistant Marylyn Love died this past spring."
Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Perkins played for the University of New Mexico from 1957 to 1959. He was a team captain his final two seasons when the Lobos coach was Marv Levy. Perkins returned to the Albuquerque area after his pro football career was over.
“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,” New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez said. “He came back to New Mexico and worked for the state and was a tremendous ambassador for so many.”
No cause of death has been revealed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.