Dallas Cowboys legendary No. 88 legacy from Drew Pearson Michael Irvin Dez Bryant CeeDee Lamb

FRISCO, Texas — They share amongst the numerous well-known numbers in Dallas Cowboys historic previous, however till a pair of months in the past, that they had by no means been inside the identical room collectively.

They have been at a residence in Dallas, filming a Chipotle enterprise, that consists of “The 88 membership” — Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, Dez Bryant and CeeDee Lamb — and it was like they have been brothers from the start, swapping tales for a pair of hours.

“nobody was retaining monitor of time as a outcome of we have been having a superb time hanging out and talking,” Pearson mentioned.

mentioned Irvin, “as a outcome of we swim inside the identical waters. all of us know the expectations that embody 88. What was so good, we have been all sitting there and taking a look at CeeDee:

“‘You do understand what’s coming? You do understand this obligation?’ it is strain for others. it is absolute promise for us. … you are inside the course of all of it. all of it comes by way of as strain for thus a lot of people. It simply so occurs to be residence for 88s.”

No. 88 has develop proper into a emblem of greatness for the Cowboys, largely handed down from one good extensive receiver to the subsequent.

“The Cowboys do not cost one other quantity like this,” mentioned Pearson, who calls himself the distinctive 88. “Two guys inside the hall of Fame. Holding it again for the subsequent man to put on is particular. it is not simply the Cowboys. take into consideration the 31 completely different teams. No completely different teams deal with a quantity that strategy.

“The depth of it is superb. No completely different staff does it that strategy.”

Pearson went from an undrafted free agent former faculty quarterback at Tulsa to a hall of Fame profession as a large receiver from 1973 to 1983.

Irvin turned “The Playmaker” from 1988 to 1999, worthwhile three large Bowls and incomes his strategy into the expert soccer hall of Fame.

In 2010, the Cowboys traded up inside the primary spherical to choose out Bryant, and from 2012 to 2014, he was amongst the numerous dynamic receivers inside the NFL.

In 2020, the Cowboys by no means thought Lamb can be accessible at No. 17 inside the primary spherical; he was the sixth-rated participant on their draft board. Since Dallas chosen him, Lamb has produced in all probability the most receptions (153) and the second-most yards (2,037) of any receiver in his first two seasons in staff historic previous.

“it is actually develop proper into a part of me”

Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb on legacy of sporting No. 88

THE COWBOYS do not retire numbers — formally.

no particular person has worn No. 12 since quarterback Roger Staubach’s profession led to 1979. no particular person has worn No. eight since quarterback Troy Aikman performed or No. 22 since working again Emmitt Smith. Defensive sort out Bob “Mr. Cowboy” Lilly’s No. seventy 4 has been worn in preseason video games a quantity of occasions by way of the years, however by no means in an everyday-season sport.

Twelve completely different gamers have worn No. 88 in Cowboys’ historic previous, collectively with a linebacker and a punter/kicker, nonetheless the receivers have made it theirs.

There have been exceptions. Tight finish Jackie Harris wore it from 2000 to 2001. Antonio Bryant wore it after being chosen inside the second spherical in 2002. Then there was tight finish Brett Pierce.

these days, Pierce is the president and chief govt officer of Elite Dental Alliance and the managing associate of seven Pillars in Plano, Texas.

In 2005, he wore No. 88.

“one among this stuff is simply not simply like the various, i suppose, huh?” he joked.

In 2004, Pierce wore No. forty nine. A yr later, he merely requested to swap to No. 88 when it turned accessible as a outcome of it was the jersey he wore at Stanford.

“i used to be in all probability not as aware of it after I requested for the quantity as i am now,” mentioned Pierce, who had two catches for 15 yards in 18 video games. “i am not sure i might ask now. it is a terribly particular quantity. There’s an glorious deal of 88 jerseys round Dallas. None of them say ‘Pierce’ on them. Some say ‘Bryant,’ which is shut ample to Brett, so I can take some credit rating.”

Jerry Jones was not but the proprietor and fundamental supervisor of the Cowboys when he turned aware of No. 88’s significance. He was sitting in a set with Staubach at Texas Stadium watching Tom Landry’s Cowboys play in opposition to invoice Parcells’ ny Giants earlier than he purchased the staff.

“Roger was talking about 88 there,” Jones mentioned. “I solely think about that with the Cowboys.”

PEARSON WORE NO. three at Tulsa. In highschool in South River, New Jersey, he wore No. 15 in away video games and No. seventy three for residence video games.


“The uniform agency tousled the numbers,” Pearson mentioned.

When he joined the Cowboys in 1973, he was initially given No. thirteen. He remembered a dialog with defensive finish Harvey Martin, who would go on to share an glorious Bowl MVP award (with defensive sort out Randy White).

“I mentioned, ‘Harvey, they bought me. they are going to reduce me. They gave me No. thirteen,'” Pearson mentioned. “My first alternative in a preseason sport on the l. a. Coliseum was on a punt return inside the third quarter and that i fumbled it. That was my start inside the NFL.”

nonetheless the Cowboys did not reduce Pearson. When he made the roster, he might lastly choose a quantity inside the 80s. He might have chosen eighty five or 87.

“eighty five did not sound appropriate. 87? actually not,” Pearson mentioned. “however 88 had a hoop to it.”

In eleven seasons, he caught 489 passes for 7,822 yards and sixty seven touchdowns. He was a three-time professional Bowl and All-professional various. He obtained an glorious Bowl and was named to the NFL Seventies All-Decade staff. And he was on the receiving finish of 1 amongst many NFL’s most iconic performs: the Hail Mary, from Roger Staubach inside the divisional spherical of the 1975 playoffs in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings.

“He was a monster,” Bryant mentioned.

FROM 1984 TO 1987, nobody wore No. 88. Then Irvin arrived in … ’88. Pearson was working for a tv station in Dallas when the Cowboys chosen Irvin with the eleventh decide inside the primary spherical.

“I had the primary interview with him after the draft, caught him off the airplane,” Pearson mentioned. “After he hugged me and kissed me and every little thing, he mentioned, ‘Drew, man, they want me to put on 88. Is it okay?’ I mentioned, ‘Michael, to start with, it is not mine. however for these who do put on it, do larger than I did sporting it.’ And now we have one factor going.”

sporting Pearson’s quantity was private for Irvin, who wore No. forty seven on the college of Miami. His father, Walter, was a Cowboys fan and liked Pearson. Walter died in Michael’s senior yr in highschool and by no means bought to see his son play in faculty or professionally.

“after I bought 88, I referred to as my sister, Janet, and she or he mentioned, ‘i am unable to think about this. As a lot as dad liked Drew, as a lot as he liked the Dallas Cowboys, and now this,'” Irvin mentioned. “every reminiscence i might make, i might join it to watching video games with my dad. He referred to as him, ‘Clutch,’ like, ‘Clutch always comes by way of. you get hold of to be Clutch. do not be involved, Clutch will get a play for us.’

“To me, by some implies that was God reconnecting me with my dad each time i might make a play. I might see the response he had with Drew and convey it to my catch. these have been the moments I had with him.”

As Irvin would stroll down the tunnel at Texas Stadium, he would take a deep breath and have a quick message.

“Get this, dude, as a outcome of i might search for in any respect the blokes inside the [Dallas Cowboys] Ring of Honor, ‘i am unable to embarrass you right this second. i will honor the legacy you started,'” Irvin mentioned. “Then i might look down at my 88 and say to Drew, ‘i am unable to embarrass you right this second.'”

Irvin caught 750 passes for eleven,904 yards and sixty five touchdowns in his 12 seasons. He was a 5-time professional Bowl decide and a 2007 professional soccer hall of Fame inductee. He had 5 straight 1,000-yard seasons. on the time of his retirement, he held or shared 20 Cowboys’ receiving data.

“‘Playmaker.’ it is in his nickname, you acknowledge?” Lamb mentioned. “His capacity to return up large for the staff, make large performs, his playoff runs, it is phenomenal.”

ANTONIO BRYANT “HAD THE fight” Irvin likes to see in receivers, however not the endurance, regardless of some electrifying moments whereas sporting No. 88. Bryant is remembered extra for throwing a sweaty observe jersey inside the face of then-coach invoice Parcells all by way of the 2004 offseason. He was traded to the Cleveland Browns a pair of months later.

“I did not have any question that he wouldn’t be the subsequent man,” Pearson mentioned of Antonio Bryant. “That man? did not see it.”

alternatively, Pearson was sure Dez Bryant, drafted No. 24 general in 2010, can be worthy. So did Irvin. however Bryant did not want No. 88 at first. He wished to put on No. 10.

“If there was any strategy I might try to get that quantity, i used to be going to want to purpose to get that quantity,” Bryant mentioned. “however I bear in thoughts Jerry sitting down with me and explaining what 88 means. and that i used to be like, ‘Hell yeah.'”

Jones’ pitch was of the historic previous of the quantity, started by Pearson and carried on by Irvin.

“I did not really feel strain. No strain in any respect,” Bryant mentioned. “and that i really feel that is why 88, that belongs on somebody like me, as a outcome of I thrive by way of in all probability the most troublesome issues. and that is whereas you may notice one among the most interesting out of me. So i really feel it was an best match.”

In eight seasons, Bryant caught 531 passes for 7,459 yards and a franchise-file seventy three touchdown catches. He was a three-time professional Bowler and an All-professional various as quickly as. From 2012 to 2014, he averaged ninety one receptions for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“Dez’s type is all about bodily,” Pearson mentioned. “He was extra bodily than Michael and that claims so a lot. definitely extra bodily than me. you are attempting to canine him on the road of scrimmage, you probably did not have a lot success. Going up and getting a ball, Dez did that larger than all of us.”

LIKE DEZ BRYANT, Lamb did not want the quantity initially both. He wore No. 2 at Oklahoma, however like Bryant earlier than him, he wished to put on No. 10 — although he mentioned he had no good set off why. Then he spoke with Jones.

“He provided the quantity, and that i used to be like, ‘Nah.’ I did not actually want to, in all probability not, not wreck that legacy, however I did not know if it was snug with them initially,” Lamb mentioned. “Second of all, I did not want it to appear to be it was a contest. as quickly as I bought the nod that every one three have been like, ‘Hell, yeah, he can put on it,’ i used to be all for it.”

Now he can not think about sporting a distinctive quantity.

“it is actually develop proper into a part of me,” Lamb mentioned.

He believes he is carrying a legacy.

“that is my job,” he mentioned.

When Dez Bryant wore a No. 88 with Lamb’s title on the again final season, “i used to be smiling from ear to ear.”

however it was in Puerto Rico this offseason the place the attain of No. 88 hit Lamb.

“It was nuts,” Lamb mentioned. “simply stress-free for a pair of days. I noticed a household from a distance, and that i noticed a navy blue jersey and mentioned, ‘i ponder what jersey that is?’ after which I noticed 88. The particular person i used to be with was like, “i really feel it is your jersey.'”

Lamb casually walked up behind the household.

“i used to be like, ‘Who’s jersey is that?'” Lamb mentioned. “They rotated and went, ‘Oh, wow! it is yours.'”

No. 88 is simply not simply CeeDee Lamb’s, although.

it is Drew Pearson’s. it is Michael Irvin’s. And it is Dez Bryant’s too.

“Me and Bishop [T.D.] Jakes have talked about this,” Irvin mentioned. “He mentioned, ‘Michael, every good man ought to always want their son or the one who comes after him to face on their ceiling and make it their floor.

“take into consideration that: Stand on their ceiling and make it your floor, after which take it larger. that is what you are making an try to move on.”