Rayfield Wright, a former Hall of Fame sprinter who competed against the Dallas Cowboys in five Super Bowl teams in the 1970s, and suffered from dementia for at least a decade, which he believes is the result of repeated beatings kumutu. , died Thursday. He was 76 years old.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced his death and said he had been hospitalized for several days for fainting. He did not say where he died.
Wright caused a great deal of controversy between 1967 and 1979 – “a lot I could not read,” he told the New York Times in 2014. Like many former players, he struggled with his memory, cognitive problems and headaches.
“Sometimes I go into the kitchen and forget why I went there,” he said.
At 6-foot-7 with about 255 pounds, Wright had a top-right presence, defending quarterback Roger Staubach and making holes in the defensive line running backs such as Calvin Hill, Duane Thomas and Tony Dorsett.
“I like to hang out, I love to touch,” Wright, who was named Big Cat for his play, told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1973. “There is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that you are removing your husband from Apo. But the greatest satisfaction of all was to put my man down. I’m on top of it, and the ball carrier is 10 to 15 yards away. ”
Wright was the first All-Pro team three times, was selected to be the Pro Bowl for six consecutive years and was named in the decade-old NFL team of the 1970s. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio, in 2006.
Carl Eller, a Minnesota Vikings defensive end who was one of Wright’s most vocal opponents and also the Hall of Famer, told The Associated Press before Wright, “A full-day battle with Rayfield Wright is certainly not my happy Sunday opinion. during the day. ”
At Super Bowl VI in 1972, the Cowboys scored 252 yards – the Super Bowl record at the time – on their way to a 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins. It was one of two Super Bowl wins for the Cowboys in the 1970s; he lost three more times.
“What we’ve done today is how you should play this game,” Wright told The Dayton Daily News. “Who’s going to fix things up front – that’s what’s important, everything being the same.”
He added, “We controlled them in line, and that’s what happened.”
Larry Rayfield Wright was born on Aug. 23, 1945, in Griffin, Ga., About 35 miles south of Atlanta, and raised by his mother, Opel Wright, and one of his grandmothers. Boy Scout recalled recalling Robert Frost’s poem “The Way Not to Be” in Grade 8, and he said that it helped him to believe that life gives him a chance to make decisions.
In high school, he excelled at basketball but did not make the football team until his senior year. Playing basketball at Fort Valley State College (now University) in Georgia, he scored 20 points and 21 rebounds and attracted the attention of the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) National Basketball Association. He was also a free defender, punter, defensive end and a strong finisher for the football team and was selected by Dallas as a solid finish in the 1967 NFL draft.
“He was a great competitor, skilled and intelligent, and able to run; you could have played him in a lot of games, “Gil Brandt, a former Cowboys player chief, said in a telephone interview.
Wright had been instrumental in the Cowboys for two seasons when Coach Tom Landry moved him to replace the injured Ralph Neely. During his first term in office, in 1969, he met Deacon Jones, a former Los Angeles Rams player.
“Hey, boy,” he remembered Jones’s greeting later. “Mama do you know you’re out here?”
“Does my mother have anything to do with this?” Wright recalled a self-centered attitude, which left him frustrated until he lost control of the ball for a while. Jones immediately slapped his right hand on Wright’s shoulder, pulling him back.
“It was as if I had been hit in the head with a baseball cap,” he told the Times.
It was probably his first argument, he said, which happened at a time when the NFL was not taking too much of a headache and the players were encouraged to return to action immediately.
Wright continued to play at a high level for the next 10 years, until leg problems diminished his strength. He was released by the Cowboys in 1980 and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but retired before playing in the game.
His survivors include his wife, Di; his daughters, Courtney Minor, Anitra Hernandez and Ariel Wright; his sons, Laray and Larry Jr. and his brother, Lamar
After retiring, Wright was a motivational speaker and laid the foundation for helping children earn money to go to college.
He was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. That year, he and a group of former Cowboys teamed up with thousands of other retired players to file lawsuits against NFL defiance that challenged the covert agreement between repeated headaches and psychiatric disorders. players.
He was arraigned in a court of law set up in 2015, offering $ 5 million for players with a single brain disorder and cognitive impairment.
“I’m scared,” Wright said of dementia in a 2014 Times interview. “I do not want this to happen.” Wiping away tears, she added, “I just want to know why this is happening to me.