Former Cowboys WR Golden Richards passes away at 73

Former Cowboys WR Golden Richards passes away at 73

The Cowboys organization has lost one of its first generation of Super Bowl stars.

Wide receiver Golden Richards passed away on Friday of congestive heart failure at the age of 73.

Richards is perhaps best remembered for his fourth-quarter touchdown catch in Super Bowl XII that capped the scoring at 27-10 and earned the Cowboys a championship win over Denver. But despite an abbreviated NFL tenure, he still stands in the franchise’s top 50 in terms of receiving yards and the top 30 in touchdown receptions.

Born and raised in Utah, Richards was a three-sport star who started his collegiate career at BYU and then finished at Hawaii. He was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of a 1973 draft that also brought Billy Joe DuPree, Harvey Martin, and Drew Pearson to Dallas.

By his second season, Richards was named a starter at wide receiver over Bob Hayes, the former Olympic track champion whose jersey number Richards had worn in college. He quickly grew into a role as the offense’s deep threat, enjoying a career high that season in touchdowns.

Richards was targeted just once in the Cowboys’ Super Bowl X loss to Pittsburgh but put up no other stats. He was on the brink of a similarly meager outing in Super Bowl XII, sitting at two targets, one catch, and nine yards as the final quarter got underway.

Up 20-10 with seven minutes to go, Cowboys head coach Tom Landry went for the dagger, calling a halfback option play that saw Robert Newhouse lob an unlikely 29-yard throw to Richards, who reeled in the pass as he crossed the goal line for one of the most memorable plays of the franchise’s first 20 years.

Richards was traded to Chicago early in the 1978 season that followed. He played 20 games for the Bears and then signed with Denver in 1980. He never played in a game as a Bronco, as a season-ending injury in his first camp forced him into a premature retirement.

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A stint as host and producer of an ESPN outdoors show followed his gridiron days. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011, with doctors pointing to his football career as a contributing cause. A 2022 fall caused a hip fracture and required four surgeries, according to family members, and expedited a decline in health.

“My uncle Golden passed away peacefully this morning,” Lance Richards wrote on social media, per ProFootballTalk. “I will forever remember going hunting and talking Dallas Cowboy football. He was a kind and sweet soul, and I’m so happy he’s not suffering anymore.”

Golden Richards played in 66 games for the Cowboys over six seasons. He has 90 receptions and 1,650 yards on his Dallas résumé, with 16 touchdowns.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire