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Doug Dennison

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No. 21
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1951-12-18) December 18, 1951 (age 64)
Place of birth: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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Career information
High school: Lancaster (PA)
College: Kutztown
Undrafted: 1974
Career history
*Inactive and/or offseason member only
Career highlights and awards
  • Second-team All-PSAC (1973)
  • Honorable Mention AP All-State Collegiate Team (1973)
  • Super Bowl champion (XII)
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William Douglas Dennison (born December 18, 1951 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania) is a former American football running back who played six seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. He later played for the Arizona Wranglers of the United States Football League. Dennison played college football at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

Early years

Dennison in high school was a district triple jump champion and finished sixth in the state finals. He attended Kutztown State College, where he set records in the triple jump with 47 feet and the long jump with 23 feet.

In football he was a two-way starter at safety and running back.[1] In 1973 he was leading the division in rushing, when he suffered a left knee injury in the fifth game of the season and was lost for the year. He received second team All-PSAC honors, after finishing the year with 587 rushing yards on 149 carries and 13 receptions for 128 yards.[2]

In 1978, he was inducted into the Kutztown Athletic Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Dennison was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1974 by the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL players held a strike from July until August, which helped him get an extended look in training camp and eventually become the first NFL player from Kutztown State. As a rookie he was a contributor in special teams and established himself as the team's short-yardage specialist, registering 4 touchdowns.

In 1975 after Calvin Hill left to join the WFL, he was used in combination with Preston Pearson, started his first three games and led the team with 7 touchdowns.

Head coach Tom Landry once said: "Doug Dennison is the best guy I know to give a football to on the goal line or short yardage," "if you want to make it, you give it to Doug. Dennison is going to give you everything he's got." and "Doug Dennison is a warrior,", "If you had to go to war, you'd want to go with Doug Dennison".[3]

Dennison was named the starter in 1976 after Pearson missed most of the season with an injury, leading the team in rushing (542 yards) and also scoring 6 touchdowns. The next season with the arrival of Tony Dorsett, he was relegated to playing mostly on special teams.

In 1978 he was placed on the injured reserve list, after suffering a left knee injury while playing special teams against the New York Giants.[4]

Dennison was waived on August 21, 1979, to make room for Ron Springs. He finished his Cowboys career with 19 touchdowns on only 309 carries and 1,112 rushing yards.[5]

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns signed him on October 13, 1979, to replace Greg Pruitt who was lost for the season with an injured knee.[6] At the end of his one-year contract, the Browns didn't resign him after drafting Charles White.[7]

Toronto Argonauts (CFL)

On March 21, 1980, he signed with the Toronto Argonauts.[8] After injuring his left knee on the first day of camp he announced his retirement.[9][10] He later changed his mind and rejoined the team in August, but was waived on September 11, 1980.[11]

Chicago Blitz (USFL)

After being out of football for three years, head coach George Allen signed him to the Chicago Blitz in 1983, to provide depth behind Tim Spencer.[12] He finished the season with 134 rushing yards on 42 carries and 15 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown.

Arizona Wranglers (USFL)

In 1984, the Chicago Blitz and the Arizona Wranglers engineered a swap of assets in which Allen, the Blitz coaching staff and most of the Blitz players moved to Phoenix, while most of the Wranglers roster moved to Chicago, with the exception of Alan Risher who stayed in Arizona to back up Greg Landry. The agreement allowed the team to move, while keeping a strong roster. Dennison remained a backup before retiring at the end of the season.[13]


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