The all-time North Texas NFL team
Joe Greene, Brian Waters and more
The all-time North Texas NFL team begins with Hall of Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene.
But it doesn’t end with Mean Joe.
Brian Waters played a tight end at North Texas. But he was converted to guard in the NFL and wound up starting 170 games and appearing in six Pro Bowls. J.T. Smith led the NFL in both punt returns and in receiving. He averaged 14.5 yards per punt return to lead the league in 1980 and returned four career punts for touchdowns. He also caught 91 passes for 1,117 yards in 1987 to lead the NFL in both categories.
Halfback Abner Haynes was a three-time Pro Bowl running back who led the AFL in rushing in its inaugural season in 1960. He led the league in rushing touchdowns in each of his first three seasons, including 13 in 1962 to power the Dallas Texans to their first championship. Erric Pegram joined Haynes as the only North Texas backs to rush for 1,000 yards in an NFL season (1993 Atlanta) and also was the leading rusher on Pittsburgh’s AFC champions in 1995. Wide receiver Ray Renfro went to three Pro Bowls in the 1950s for Cleveland and his hands helped the Browns win two NFL titles.
Over on the defensive side of the ball, end Cedric Hardman collected 122 1/2 sacks in his 12-year career with San Francisco and Oakland. Cornerback Carl “Spider Lockhart intercepted 41 passes in his 11 seasons with the New York Giants. He also recovered 16 fumbles and went to two Pro Bowls.
But the mainstay of the North Texas team remains Greene, considered the greatest defensive tackle in NFL history. He provided the foundation for the Steel Curtain defense that delivered the Pittsburgh Steelers a four-Super Bowl dynasty in the 1970s.
Here is the all-time North Texas NFL team:
QB—Steve Ramsey, 7 seasons, 14-17 starting record, 35 TD passes
HB—Abner Haynes, 3 Pro Bowls, 8 seasons, 4,630 rushing yards, 66 TDs
RB—Erric Pegram, 7 seasons, 3,398 yards, 14 touchdowns
WR—J.T. Smith, 2 Pro Bowls, Led NFL In receiving (91 catches) in 1987
WR—Ray Renfro, 3 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 281 receptions, 50 touchdowns
TE—Mark Witte, 4 seasons, 5 starts, 6 receptions
T—Glenn Holtzman, 5 seasons, 55 starts
OL—Willie Parker, 8 seasons, 47 starts
G—Brian Waters, 6 Pro Bowls, 13 seasons, 170 starts
G—Glen Holloway, 5 seasons, 55 starts
C—Dennis Swilley, 10 seasons, 101 starts
DE—Cedrick Hardman, 2 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 122 ½ sacks
DT—Joe Greene, Hall of Fame
DT—Bill Bishop, Pro Bowl, 10 seasons, 103 starts (1950s)
NT—Tony Elliott, 7 seasons, 60 starts, 13 sacks
LB—Craig Robertson, 9 seasons, 597 tackles, 10 interceptions
MLB—Zach Orr, 3 seasons, 133 tackles & 3 interceptions in 2016
LB—Brad Kassell, 6 seasons, 34 starts, 291 tackles
CB—Carl “Spider” Lockhart, 2 Pro Bowls, 11 seasons, 41 interceptions
CB—Leonard Dunlap, 5 seasons, 5 interceptions
S—Beasley Reece, 9 seasons, 18 interceptions
S—Chuck Beatty, 4 seasons, 28 starts, 4 touchdowns
K—Curt Knight, 5 seasons, 101 field goals, 475 points
P—Toby Gowin, 8 seasons, 629 punts, 41.2-yard average
KR—J.T. Smith, 2 Pro Bowls, 4 career punt returns for touchdowns
ST—Cody Spencer, 5 seasons, 12 ST tackles for the Jets in 2006
LS—Grag Davidson, 3 seasons, 39 games