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Mark Washington (cornerback)

For the Canadian Football League player, see Mark Washington (Canadian football).
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Washington in 2011
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Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1947-12-28) December 28, 1947 (age 68)
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois
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Career information
High school: Chicago (IL) Harlan
College: Morgan State
NFL draft: 1970 / Round: 13 / Pick: 335
Career history
*Inactive and/or offseason member only
Career highlights and awards
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Mark Henry Washington (born December 28, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former professional American football cornerback in the National Football League. He played for ten seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots. Washington won two Super Bowls while playing for the Cowboys in 1971 against the Miami Dolphins, and 1977 against the Denver Broncos.

Early years

Washington attended John Marshall Harlan Career Academy, before receiving a scholarship to play for Morgan State University. He was coached by Earl Banks, who at the time sent many of his players to professional football.[1] He became a four-starter at safety and received All-CIAA honors as a senior.

In 1993, he was inducted into the Morgan State University Athletic Hall of Fame.[2]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Washington was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 13th round (335th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. Even as a rookie, he was one of the best athletes on the team and showed his big play potential with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.[3] He also blocked an extra point in Super Bowl V.[4]

Coming into his second year, he injured his knee while returning a kickoff in preseason and was waived injured on August 25, 1971.[5][6] He would eventually rejoin the team and play in two games.

When Herb Adderley retired in 1973, he had a chance to earn the left cornerback starting job, but he was passed over by Charlie Waters. After Waters struggled, he replaced him the next year and started 6 games.

In 1975, he was the starter for the full season (14 starts) and helped the Cowboys reach Super Bowl X. But he is mostly remembered for his play against Lynn Swann, who finished the game with four receptions (two of those catches are very famous) for a then Super Bowl record 161 yards, one touchdown and became the first wide receiver to earn Super Bowl MVP honors.[7][8]

The next year he was replaced with Benny Barnes, but got a chance to start 5 games at right cornerback after Mel Renfro was injured. He was waived on August 21, 1979.[9]

New England Patriots

Washington signed with the New England Patriots as a free agent on September 13, 1979.[10] He was released on November first, to make room for tight end Al Chandler.[11]