Downs, Michael

to87 downsCard: Topps 1987
Acquired: In Person 2013, 12/28 Cowboys Rally Day

Always underrated, it seemed fitting that Cowboys safety Michael Downs followed up HoF defensive back Mel Renfro at the Rally Day. Many of the fans there in line didn’t know who he was or when he played for the Cowboys. I had remembered him from the early days when I watched the Landry Cowboys, and this card, that Josh dropped on the floor, that fell beneath the metal shelves I owned. As the boxes moved around my room, this card kept popping up, so I took it as a sign, and integrated it into the general collection. It has seen a lot of abuse over the years, bent edges and all, so it’s fitting that I’d remember it enough to get it signed when I had the chance.

Michael Downs wasn’t drafted out of Rice in 1981, so he signed with his hometown Cowboys anyway. He’d make the squad and start the first game as an injury substitution at free safety. Tested early and often, Downs quickly established himself as a feared enforcer with a nose for the ball. He made 7 picks his downsrookie season, but was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, finishing second on the team to fellow rookie free agent Everson Walls. Still he captured All-Rookie honors from the league, and consistently led the defensive secondary in tackles. Again in ’84 Downs had a fine season with 3.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, and 2 FF, but did not earn Pro Bowl honors. He’d be passed up again in 1986 after a 6 pick season. As the Cowboys slumped and Landry was removed after the 1988 season, Jimmy Johnson cut Downs almost outright from the team. Michael signed with the Cardinals where he finished out his career after the season. No hard feelings in the long run I’d guess, as Downs lives in the Dallas area, attended the demolishing of Cowboys Stadium, where he talked about his fond memories of his time with the ‘Boys, and makes appearances at Rally Days.  In media, he also made an appearance in the original Tecmo Bowl.

G/Gs  121/116    Tac   N/a      Sac  8.0        Fum 14
Int 35      Yds 470    Avg 13.4    Td 1      Lg 37