Abbeville native and former Auburn University and Dallas Cowboys football great David Edwards passed away on Tuesday at the age of 77.
Edwards was in the first class of Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame inductees in 1993 and was chosen for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
His brother, Tim Edwards of Prattville, said the former football star, who resided in Crawford, Texas, was due to have heart surgery on Thursday. He apparently died in his sleep.
“I talked to him yesterday (Monday) morning and he was in a good mood,” Tim Edwards said. “He wasn’t really that worried about it.”
Tim said a friend arrived to take his brother to an appointment on Tuesday and discovered he had passed away.
“His heart just gave out on him, I guess,” Tim said.
Edwards, a hard-nosed linebacker in the NFL ranks, help lead Dallas to three Super Bowls, including defeating the Miami Dolphins 24-3 at the Super Dome in New Orleans for the Cowboys’ first championship.
At Auburn, he was a two-way player at end who could be used on offense as a receiver or at end on the defensive side. Edwards was an All-SEC performer as a senior and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1962 AFL Draft, but instead signed with the Cowboys of the NFL as a free agent in 1963.
“He was a great athlete, but he was a good person,” his brother said. “You never heard anybody say anything bad about him. He got along with everyone.”
Mike Helms, who now resides in Columbus, Georgia, played on teams with Edwards at Abbeville High and Auburn.
“He was one of those guys that was built to play football,” Helms said. “In other words, physically he had a great build for football.
“He was suited to play end because he was well-balanced and had some large hands. I think that’s what made him a great defensive end at Auburn and linebacker at Dallas because he was able to use his strength, and size, and physical body to play great defensive football.”
Tom Vickers was four years behind Edwards at Abbeville, but well remembers what he was like on the football field.
“He was a hoss,” Vickers said. “You know he had to be to have gone as far as he went. He played all three sports in high school – football, basketball and baseball.
“When we were at practice and all, he was a man among boys.”
Edwards spent his entire NFL career with Dallas (1962-1975), playing in 181 games and starting 163 of them. He had 13 career interceptions and 17 fumble recoveries.