Doug Dawson was an acclaimed lineman at the University of Texas where he received All-American Honors. At 6’2″, 288, he graded out extremely well as both a run and pass blocker, and displayed the versatility and intelligence to play guard and center. Dawson was taken in round 2 with the 45th pick by the then St. Louis Cardinals. He’d almost immediately be tabbed by the team as a starter and by all accounts appeared to be a steal for the team. Doug started 15 games in 1984, and 16 in ’85, before a calamitous knee injury ended his career 1 game into the 1986 season- or so we all though.
Dawson thought his playing days were over, but the desire was always there to play. Over the next few years he took up insurance, but medical technology made a huge jump during that period, and his doctors were confident they could rebuild Dawson and medically clear him to play again. Doug was given a tryout by his hometown Houston Oilers. The Oilers were particularly deep on the line, with Hall of Famers Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews manning the front along with Dean Steinkuhuler, Jay Pennison, and David Williams. Don Maggs and Erik Norgard also were waiting in the wings to get on the field at the drop of a hat, but somehow, Doug with his versatility, veteran presence, (and probably affordability), won a spot on the roster with the team after essentially a 4 year layoff. Despite his heroic comeback (-even starting a game for the Oilers during the 1990 season,) Doug was snubbed for comeback player of the year honors in favor of Ottis Anderson.
In 1991 Doug returned to full form in the run ‘n shoot offense, blocking for Warren Moon full time. The running game also slowly picked up steam during his tenure with the team, culminating with 1,000 yard seasons for Lorenzo White in 1992, and Gary Brown in 1993. Doug enjoyed some of my favorite seasons as an Oiler, helping to raise the AFC Central Division Championship banner in 1991 and 1993 in Houston. He played one final season for the Browns in 1994 and retired.
I never found a card of Doug, even though I was aware of him when they signed him. Since he was drafted in 1984, Topps was the only brand on the market, and although he was a second round choice who did make an impact on the Cardinals squad, he was still playing in a siberian wasteland. Last year I was happy to find him in a box of the University of Texas Upper Deck cards and noted him for a short list. I wrote him courtesy of his business, Dawson Financial Services, – a catalyst for customers to manage, clarify, and plan towards their financial goals. I was really happy to get a response, but surprised as Doug apparently read my letter that mentioned that I couldn’t find any cards of him until 2011, and touchingly included the Stadium Club 1993 card autographed as well in his response.