Don Perkins, Star Dallas Running Back, Is Dead at 84

Don Perkins, a six-time Pro Bowl running back with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, died on Thursday. He was 84.

The Cowboys and the University of New Mexico, where Perkins was a standout player before his professional career, announced the death. Neither announcement said where he died, and neither cited the cause.

Perkins rushed for 6,217 yards in 107 games with the Cowboys from 1961 to 1968. He is fourth on the team’s career list behind two Pro Football Hall of Famers — Emmitt Smith, the N.F.L. career rushing leader, and Tony Dorsett — and the Cowboys’ current running back, Ezekiel Elliott. Perkins’s 42 rushing touchdowns rank fifth in the team’s history.

While he was initially drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the ninth round of the 1960 draft, Perkins had already signed a personal services contract with the expansion Cowboys. Dallas acquired his rights after sending the Colts a ninth-round draft pick.

Perkins missed the Cowboys’ inaugural season in 1960 because of a broken foot. He rushed for 815 yards in 1961, and finished third in the voting for N.F.L. rookie of the year, behind Mike Ditka and Fran Tarkenton. He had a career-best 945 yards rushing in 1962.

Donald Anthony Perkins was born on March 4, 1938, in Waterloo, Iowa. He played for New Mexico from 1957 to 1959 and was a team captain his final two seasons. The Lobos’ coach at the time, the future Hall of Famer Marv Levy, has said that Perkins was one of the greatest players he ever coached.

Perkins returned to the Albuquerque area after his pro football career was over. He later worked as a television and radio football analyst.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

“Don is one of the greatest Lobos, and certainly one of the greatest football players to play for U.N.M.,” New Mexico’s athletic director, Eddie Nuñez, said. “He came back to New Mexico and worked for the state and was a tremendous ambassador for so many.”

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