The Tragic Death of Dallas Cowboys Star ‘Bullet’ Bob Hayes

The Dallas Cowboys have had a lot of success throughout the history of the NFL. The Cowboys have won five NFL championships and have dominated the NFC in the early years. One former player who was part of the Cowboys championship team was ‘Bullet’ Bob Hayes.

Hayes played for the Cowboys from 1965 to 1974. He dominated at the wide receiver position, and there was a reason why they called him ‘Bullet.’ The Hall of Famer died in 2002, and it was a huge loss for the Cowboys family.

Hayes was a standout multi-sport athlete in college

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Before Hayes became a popular name in the NFL, he excelled in college. The Jacksonville, Florida, native attended Florida A&M University. At Florida A&M, he received a scholarship to play football and competed in track and had a lot of success. Hayes was one of the fastest athletes in all of college. During his time running track at Florida A&M, he never lost a race in the 100 yards or 100-meter competitions. 

Hayes became the first person to break six seconds in the 60-yard dash with his indoor world record of 5.9 seconds. The things he was doing in college were simply amazing. In 1963, he broke the 100-yard dash record with a time of 9.1. The times that he was posting in college were remarkable. 

From 1962 to 1964, Hayes was the AAU 100-yard champion, and in 1964 he was an NCAA champion in the 200-meter dash. Hayes had a memorable collegiate career, and he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. He also was inducted into the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the Black College Football Hall of Fame.

Hayes participating in the Olympics and becoming an NFL player

While Hayes was a senior at Florida A&M, he participated in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Hayes won two gold medals in the 100 meters and the 4X100 meter relay. His bursting speed transferred over the NFL. The Cowboys selected him in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL draft. Dallas had high hopes of putting Hayes at the wide receiver position and let his speed do all the work.

In his first two seasons with the Cowboys, he had a lot of success. He led the league in receiving touchdowns during the 1965 and 1966 season. Hayes finished with 12 touchdowns in 1965 and 13 in 1966. He also finished with over 1,000 receiving yards in both seasons. The speedster did not waste any time making an impact when he entered the league. Hayes was selected to the Pro Bowl his first three years in the league. He continued to dominate throughout his career with the Cowboys, and he was a part of the Super Bowl-winning team during the 1971 season. Hayes spent 10 seasons playing for the Cowboys and spent his final season with the San Francisco 49ers. He finished his career with 371 receptions for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns.

Bob Hayes’ death was a significant blow to the sports world

Hayes had a remarkable NFL and track career. He knew how to use his speed to his advantage on the football field as defenders had difficulties keeping up with him and making a tackle. In 2002, Hayes passed away in his hometown of Jacksonville due to kidney failure. He was 59 at the time, and he also battled prostate cancer and liver ailments.

Seven years later, after he passed, Hayes was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. During the ceremony, Hayes’ former Cowboys teammate, Roger Staubach, and Hayes’ son, Bob Hayes Jr., were present to unveil the bust of the Hall of Fame player. Hayes was a once in a lifetime talent, and he left his legacy in the NFL.