Rayfield Wright, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys who was on five Super Bowl teams in the 1970s, passed away last Thursday, People reports. He was 76.
Di Hall, Wright's wife, along with the Pro Football Hall of Fame confirmed his passing saying he was hospitalized for several days after suffering a “serious seizure.”
“Over the past few weeks, it has become abundantly clear the love that so many Hall of Famers and others around the NFL felt toward Rayfield, his wife, Di, and the extended Wright family,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said. “His gentle nature away from the game belied his commanding presence on the field. All fans, especially those of the Cowboys, will remember fondly his dominance on the offensive line in the 1970s and how he took protecting Dallas quarterbacks as his personal mission.”
Larry Rayfield Wright was born on Aug. 23, 1945, in Griffin, Georgia, about 35 miles south of Atlanta.
As a high schooler, he was a star basketball player for Fort Valley State College (now University) in Georgia, where he averaged 20 points and 21 rebounds a game, gaining interest from the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) of the National Basketball Association.
In football, he played multiple positions including free safety, punter, defensive end, and tight end for the football team, and was selected as a tight end by the Cowboys in the 1967 N.F.L. draft.
At 6-foot-7 and about 255 pounds, Wright was an intimidating right tackle who protected fellow Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett on what would become known as “America’s Team” during the 70s. He would appear in five Super Bowls, winning in 1971 and 1977.
Throughout his remarkable 13-year career, Wright was a first-team All-Pro three times, selected for the Pro Bowl in six consecutive years, and was named to the N.F.L.'s all-decade team of the 1970s. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio, in 2006.
In 2012, he was diagnosed with dementia which he attributed, in a statement to The New York Times in 2014, to the constant head trauma that he encountered as a player saying, “so many that I couldn’t even count them.” .
In addition to his wife Di, he is survived by his daughters, Courtney Minor, Anitra Hernandez and Ariel Wright; his sons, Laray and Larry Jr.; and his brother, Lamar.
We extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rayfield Wright.