Over The Years, Players On America’s Team Had A Number Of Run-Ins With The Law — Sometimes Under Bizarre Circumstances, Others Times Under Troubling Ones.
On Wednesday morning, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Daniel Ross was arrested in Frisco when police pulled him over for a traffic stop, then found him with a gun and an undisclosed amount of marijuana in his car. The 26-year-old now faces charges of possession of marijuana and unlawfully carrying a weapon.
Last month, meanwhile, former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber was arrested in Prosper for more bizarre reasons. According to the Dallas Morning News, Barber intentionally ran into a car as it was pulling out of a parking lot — and then, later that same day, did the same thing again to another car as the driver was waiting to make a turn. A third incident may have happened the day before, as a suspect matching Barber’s description jumped onto the hood of a car in a Dairy Queen parking lot.
Headlines like these are weirdly par for course for America’s Team. Over the years, Cowboys players have been arrested for odd and serious reasons alike. Regardless, run-ins with the law have persisted throughout the long history of this franchise.
Let’s take a chronological look at some of the notable arrests in Cowboys history.
1983: Linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson was arrested for false imprisonment, sexual battery and furnishing cocaine to a minor. Henderson was accused of threatening two teenage girls with a gun and sexually assaulting one of the girls.
1986: Kicker Rafeael Septien was arrested in January of 1986 on charges of indecency with a 10-year-old child. Septien was quickly released by the team, although he didn’t serve jail time for the incident.
1996: While former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin has a long history of personal issues — among them multiple sexual assault allegations and a 1998 incident in which he stabbed a teammate with a pair of scissors — his actual arrest record isn’t too extensive. In 1996, 2001, and 2005, Irvin was arrested on various drug charges.
2001: Perhaps the most well-known arrest involving a Dallas Cowboys player is the story of former offensive lineman Nate Newton, who played for the Cowboys from 1986-1998 and whose blocking was a crucial part of the team’s offensive success during the 1990s. In 2001, Newton was arrested when he was stopped by police in Louisiana and was found to have a whopping 213 pounds of marijuana in his car. Just five weeks later, Newton was arrested again — this time in Texas — after being pulled over with another 175 pounds of marijuana in his van.
2003: Cowboys defensive back Dwayne Goodrich was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison — and he would subsequently have that sentence extended, although he would eventually be released after eight years — for striking and killing two motorists who were attempting to rescue a man from a burning car. Goodrich was reportedly going over 100 miles per hour at the time, but later tests indicate his rate of speed may have been significantly lower.
2011: Former Cowboys receiver Sam Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges after an investigation that started when he was still a Cowboy. Hurd met with an undercover police officer in Chicago while playing as a member of the Bears, hoping to arrange for the purchase of marijuana and cocaine for the purposes of distributing it.
2012: Arguably the saddest Dallas Cowboys law enforcement story is the one surrounding defensive lineman Josh Brent. In 2012, Brent was driving in a car with teammate Jerry Brown, who had also been Brent’s college teammate. Brent had been drinking and struck a curb in Irving while driving somewhere above 110 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. The accident resulted in Brown’s death, and Brent was later charged with intoxication manslaughter (a second-degree felony) and sentenced to 180 days in jail. Brent’s legal issues resurfaced again in 2019, when he was arrested for public intoxication in a Wendy’s parking lot in Coppell.
2014: In 2014, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was caught stealing underwear and cologne from the Dillard’s at Frisco’s Stonebriar Center. The arrest later landed Randle a spokesman role with underwear company MeUndies, although later legal issues would make this much less of a funny story than it was initially considered at the time. Between 2015 and 2018, Randle was arrested seven times on charges of sexual assault, burglary and drug possession.
2014: Greg Hardy hadn’t even played a down for the Cowboys yet in 2014 when he was arrested for domestic violence after strangling and threatening to kill a former girlfriend. Still, after his time with the Carolina Panthers ended, the Cowboys chose to sign Hardy — a move that was met with much criticism. Hardy played one season with the Cowboys, missing the first four games of the season due to a suspension for that domestic violence issue.