Benny Barnes was no Dallas Cowboys spare. He played 11 years with the team--from 1972 through the 1982 season, for a total of 139 games--as a defensive back, and he was the subject ofa controversial call
involving a Terry Bradshaw pass to Lynn Swann in Super Bowl XIII in 1979. (Ya know, the game during which Jackie Smith dropped that guaranteed, no-doubt-about-it touchdown pass.That
game.) These days, he's among the forgotten icons of that period; put it this way, he ain't going into the Hall of Fame or Ring of Honor any time soon. But theContra Costa Times
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on Barnes: He's a full-time athletic equipment manager at Contra Costa College in the Bay Area, and he also helps coach the CCC Comets football team's special teams. Says the paper:
"Barnes played in the NFL before the era of free agency and seven-figure contracts. His first Cowboys contract was for $16,500 with a $500 signing bonus. Barnes' final contract in 1982 was for $125,000--less than the minimum salary for NFL rookies today.
'I've been working ever since I quit,' Barnes said.
After retiring from the NFL, Barnes went into business with Cowboys teammates Ed 'Too Tall' Jones, Preston Pearson and Butch Johnson.
Their biggest venture was in fast food. They eventually owned 10 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. Unfortunately for Barnes and his partners, all but two of those franchises were in West Texas oil towns such as Midland and Odessa. In the late '80s, the oil business 'bottomed out' and the local economies went with it."
On an unrelated related note, it was nice on Saturday when Rayfield Wright said our old pal Harvey Martin belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was nice, because it's true--and it will probably never happen. --Robert Wilonsky