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Iowa History Daily: March 4 - NFL Running Back Don Perkins

Iowa History Daily: On March 4, 1938, NFL fullback Don Perkins was born in Waterloo. A standout on the gridiron at Waterloo West, Perkins went on to win Rookie of the Year and gain recognition as a six-time Pro Bowl selection while playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

While at Waterloo West, Perkins shined on the football field and in the classroom. Often referred to as ‘Mr. Left’ in the local paper due to his driving runs left on handoffs, Perkins also served as Student Senate President during his senior year. An All-State selection in 1955, Perkins helped lead West to an undefeated season capped with a 20-12 win over Waterloo East. 

Perkins headed west to play his college ball for Marv Levy at New Mexico State. A two-way player, Perkins played halfback and defensive back while gaining distinction as a three-time All-Skyline Conference selection and the Skyline Sophomore of the Year. In 1958, he led the nation in kickoff returns. In 1959 he received third-team All-American honors. Selected by the Baltimore Colts in the 9th round, Perkins ended up on the newly added Dallas Cowboys franchise as a compensatory pick.

Perkins proved a bright star on the struggling Dallas expansion franchise. Not the fastest back in terms of long-distance speed, Perkins boasted outstanding quickness and balance. He finished his rookie season with 815 rushing yards (sixth among league leaders) and 4 touchdowns, earning NFL Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors. A superb blocker, Perkins also finished in the NFL's top 10 rushing in each of his eight seasons in the league. When Perkins retired in 1968, he stood fifth in NFL history for rush yards with 6,217. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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