James Randell Hughes (born April 3, 1953) is a former American football safety who played six seasons in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Oklahoma and was drafted in the fourth round of the 1975 NFL Draft.
|Born:||April 3, 1953|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||209 lb (95 kg)|
|High school:||Tulsa (OK) Memorial|
|NFL Draft:||1975 / Round: 4 / Pick: 96|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
In 1974 he played a key role against the University of Nebraska, when he intercepted three passes and had 11 tackles in a 28-14 victory. It was the team's second straight Big Eight championship, en route to an undefeated season and the National Championship. As a senior, he was named All-Big Eight, first-team All-American, National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete, GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American and also played in the Senior Bowl.
He finished his career after being a part of three Big Eight Conference titles, one National Championship, finishing fourth in school history with 14 career interceptions and tying the record for passes broken up in a season with 12 (1974). In 1979, he was voted to the seventies All-Decade Big Eight Team and in 1995 to the All-Time Big Eight Team.
Hughes was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 1975 NFL Draft. He was one of 12 rookies who made the team that year - hence the "Dirty Dozen" nickname for the Cowboys 1975 draft, that helped the team reach Super Bowl X. From the start, his skills earned him comparisons to Cowboys great Cliff Harris.
During his first four seasons, he played mostly as a nickelback and served as the backup to Harris and Charlie Waters. In 1976, he had a chance to start 2 games after Harris was injured, and in 1979, he started in place of Waters, who sat out the entire year with an injured knee. On December 8 1979, he dislocated his right shoulder playing against the Philadelphia Eagles, which became an injury that eventually would end his career.
In 1980 he was the likely replacement for the retired Harris at free safety, but he missed most of the year, after reinjuring his right shoulder during pre-season and it being operated on twice He was replaced in the starting lineup by Dennis Thurman.
In 1981 he was projected as a starter, but dislocated his right shoulder while playing against the Los Angeles Rams in pre-season. The injury would open the door for rookie Michael Downs to earn the free safety job and for Hughes decision to retire before the start of the regular season.
Although he played six seasons and recorded 9 interceptions with the Cowboys, his career never fully blossomed because of recurring shoulder injuries. He tied a team record with interceptions in 3 straight playoff games.
- "Player Bio: Hampton Hughes - BCEAGLES.COM - Boston College Official Athletic Site". CBS Interactive. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-09.