|Troy Aikman Hangs Up His Guns|
Dateline: April 9, 2001
By: James Alder
Troy Aikman announced his retirement from the NFL Monday afternoon, after 12 years and three Super Bowl championships as the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Aikman, who was released by the Cowboys about a month ago, decided to call it quits when little interest was shown for his services by other NFL teams.
At an emotional press conference held at Texas Stadium, Troy choked back tears as he said, "I know it's the right thing. I know it's the right thing for me because of my health, concussions, the back problems I've had. It took its toll."
Troy has suffered as many as ten concussions during his NFL career, including four in his last 20 starts, leaving many teams reluctant to take the chance that he can lead their team through an entire season. He now plans to explore a career in broadcasting; a position which appears to come naturally to him. FOX Sports, ESPN, and NBC are all possible future employers for Troy Aikman.
Troy ended his Dallas days with 2,898 completions on 4,715 pass attempts for 32,942 yards. He has thrown 165 touchdown passes and 141 interceptions, but the biggest measure of Troy Aikman's value as a quarterback was his leadership abilities.
Troy was the leader of the great Cowboy teams of the eighties and nineties, which contained many other great players, but it was always Troy's team. He was the key to making their offense click. He was a huge part of the success under the Jerry Jones regime.
And Troy has been a huge part of the success of the Cowboys since the day he was drafted. Troy represented a new beginning for the Cowboys. They had a new owner. They had a new head coach. And with Jerry Jones's first draft pick as an owner, in 1989, they had the quarterback to build around.
Troy signed a six-year deal with the Cowboys on April 20, 1989, and then became the first rookie quarterback to start an opening game for Dallas since Roger Staubach in 1969.
His debut was anything but spectacular, throwing two interceptions in a 28-0 shutout by the New Orleans Saints, but he would soon show the talent that made him the first overall pick in the draft. After five weeks off with a broken finger, Troy set the rookie passing record with 379 yards against the Phoenix Cardinals. He also suffered the first concussion of his career during the same game.
Troy quickly developed into a quality starting quarterback, and on December 13, 1992, he surpassed the 10,000-yard mark quicker than any quarterback in Dallas history. He also capped off a Cowboys' championship season by being named the Super Bowl XXVII MVP. He completed 22-of-30 passes, and the Cowboys soundly defeated the Buffalo Bills, 52-17.
The following year, Aikman suffered a concussion in the third quarter of a 38-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. He came back the following week to lead the Cowboys past the Bills again for their second-consecutive Super Bowl victory.
Troy began 1996 by winning his third Super Bowl with the Cowboys, and he ended it by breaking Roger Staubach's record of 22,700 passing yards.
He ends his career having accomplished virtually everything a player could dream of, and the only thing left for him now is to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And that is an honor that will surely be bestowed upon him as soon as he is eligible.