Feb. 3, 2017 – Fort Valley State University’s contributions to the NFL will be recognized as part of Super Bowl LI festivities this weekend. FVSU President Paul Jones will represent the university in ceremonies during which FVSU alumnus and Wildcat football team member Rayfield Wright will be honored on Saturday, Feb. 4 as one of the 29 Pro Football Hall of Fame members who attended HBCUs. The Super Bowl ceremonies are part of an initiative to celebrate the impact HBCUs have had on professional football.
“I could not be more honored than to lead the University in paying tribute to this incredibly accomplished Wildcat,” said President Jones. “His contributions on the field have elevated the sport, and his contributions off the field have helped elevate humanity.”
Wright came to Fort Valley State in the 1960s, standing out in both basketball and football. The 6’7″ Griffin, GA native was offered a spot on the Cincinnati Royals basketball team after his junior year, but declined in order to stay at FVSU for his senior year. He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 1967 draft and then proceeded to make NFL history. During his 13 seasons playing tight end, defensive end and offensive tackle with the Cowboys, the former Wildcat became known by the very appropriate nickname, “The Big Cat.” Wright is tied at #2 as one of the NFL players who have played in the most Super Bowls, and his five appearances in the iconic game include two championships.
Only five Cowboys have been to more Pro Bowls than Wright’s six, and only nine Cowboys have played for the team longer. The former Cowboys team captain earned a spot on the NFL’s All Decade Team for the 1970s, is part of the Dallas Cowboys’ “Ring of Honor,” and was named by ESPN as one of the top 10 Dallas Cowboys of all time. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 as part of a ceremony during which he was introduced to the audience by former FVSU football coach Stan Lomax.
Since his career in football concluded, he has made giving back a priority, raising money for college scholarships through the Rayfield Wright Foundation, helping to start a home for at-risk boys in East Texas and supporting charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
More information about Rayfield Wright can be found at http://www.profootballhof.com/players/rayfield-wright.