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 October 13, 2023

Cowboys legend Walt Garrison dead at 79

Walt Garrison, renowned for his dual roles as an NFL star and rodeo cowboy, has passed away at 79.

Throughout his nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Walt Garrison made a mark not just in the football world but also in rodeo. This duality defined Garrison, showcasing his versatility and dedication to two contrasting sports.

Joining the Cowboys in 1966, he dedicated eight strong years, culminating his career in 1974. With 3,886 rushing yards under his belt, he retired as the team’s third-best rusher and fourth-best receiver.

His prowess on the field was further highlighted with 39 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl selection in 1972. However, football was just one side of Garrison's multifaceted life.

A star both on and off the field

Garrison's rodeo enthusiasm was no secret. As he once articulated, "There's a lot of similarities between rodeo and football,"

drawing parallels between the few seconds it takes to wrestle a steer to the ground and an NFL play's duration, as reported by Arkansas Online.

Even as a rookie, he frequently participated in local rodeos, especially in steer wrestling. To adhere to his team’s curfew, he'd always ensure he was back at the hotel by 11 p.m. However, this passion wasn’t always looked upon favorably by the Cowboy's management.

Legendary Cowboys head coach Tom Landry once highlighted a clause in Garrison’s contract, which Garrison later confirmed.

Consequently, Landry limited Garrison's moonlighting during the season, but he continued in the offseason.

Legacy in the sports world

Before making waves in the NFL, Garrison was already a sensation at Oklahoma State. Initially arriving as a linebacker, he quickly transitioned to running back. Notably, in 1964, he outshone the legendary Gayle Sayers to lead the Big 8 in rushing. His impressive streak continued in 1965 with 924 yards and five touchdowns in just ten games.

His achievements weren't limited to the football field. Walt Garrison has left his mark in various halls of fame, from the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, and Oklahoma State Athletics Hall of Honor, to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

The world remembered him as he passed away. Although the cause wasn’t disclosed, the Dallas Cowboys paid homage to their star on their official website, echoing the sentiments of countless fans. Fox News reported.

The dual nature: Strengths and risks

While Garrison's love for rodeo exemplified his versatility, it wasn’t without its dangers. He suffered a knee injury in 1975 during a steer wrestling event, often termed "bulldogging". This injury marked the end of his football career, forcing an early retirement at 30.

The challenges and injuries he faced in rodeo mirrored the risks associated with football. But for Garrison, passion trumped risks. And while his rodeo activities may have contributed to his early NFL retirement, they added a unique layer to his legacy.

He wasn’t just an NFL player; he was Walt Garrison – the man who seamlessly blended the worlds of football and rodeo, earning respect and admiration in both arenas.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

While Walt Garrison's story is inspiring, it also carries important lessons for us all:

  • Pursue your passions but be aware of the risks: Engaging in multiple sports can be exhilarating, but it's vital to understand and acknowledge the associated risks.
  • Always have backup plans: An unforeseen injury or incident can change the course of your career. It's always wise to be prepared for contingencies.
  • Listen to your body: While determination and perseverance are commendable, it's essential to know when to pause or stop. Your health should always be a priority.

Why this story matters

Walt Garrison's life serves as a testament to following one's passion. Whether it was the rugged rodeo grounds or the fierce football field, Garrison gave it his all. His dedication to both disciplines teaches us about commitment, passion, and the significance of living life on one's own terms.

In a world that often encourages specialization, Garrison's story stands as a beacon for those who dare to juggle multiple passions. His tale is a reminder that it's possible to excel in diverse domains, even if they are poles apart.

Moreover, his resilience, even after facing a career-threatening injury, showcases the indomitable spirit athletes often embody. Garrison’s story is more than just that of a sportsperson; it’s a narrative of passion, determination, and undying spirit.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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