American Football Database
American Football Database
Mike Hegman
Date of birth: (1953-01-17) January 17, 1953 (age 68)
Place of birth: Memphis, Tennessee
Career information
Position(s): Linebacker
College: Tennessee State
NFL Draft: 1975 / Round: 7 / Pick: 173
 As player:
1976-1987 Dallas Cowboys
Playing stats at

Michael William Hegman (born January 17, 1953 in Memphis, Tennessee) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League who played for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Tennessee State University.

Early years

He didn't start playing football until his senior year at Northside High School in Memphis. He began his college career at Alabama A&M University and then transferred to Tennessee State University, where he walked on to the football team. He was a teammate of Ed "Too Tall" Jones, and the starting middle linebacker on the school's 10-0 team, that won the Black college football national championship in 1973.

At the end of his junior season, everybody thought that he still had a year of eligibility, except for the Dallas Cowboys, who took a gamble and drafted him in what came to be known as the Dirty Dozen Draft in 1975. Two games into the 1975 college football season, the NCAA declared him ineligible and forced him to sit our the rest of the games. Although he sat out most of the year, he was allowed to play in the Senior Bowl.

Professional career

The Dallas Cowboys drafted him as a junior in the seventh round of the 1975 NFL Draft (the Dirty Dozen Draft). The team was allowed to retain his rights, after they were proven right that he was technically eligibile, because his class had graduated that year.

After his unusual entrance into the NFL in 1976, he spent most of his first four seasons playing special teams and as an outside linebacker backup to Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson and D. D. Lewis. During Super Bowl XIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he made his most famous play, taking the ball from Terry Bradshaw and scoring on a 37 yard fumble return.

In 1979 he became the starting strong-side linebacker after the team waived Henderson.

During the 1980 offseason, he faced prosecution on a charge of forging a friend's name on $10,534 dollars worth of checks. The case was dismissed after he pay the money he owed, with the help of players like Cliff Harris, Roger Staubach, Bob Breunig and Tony Dorsett, who gave $2,000 dollars each to help cover the debt. He was released in 1988 as part of a youth movement.

Hegman played 12 years and started in 119 games, becoming a dependable player in the Cowboys defense for more than a decade. He helped the Cowboys win 2 NFC Championships and 1 Super Bowl during his career.

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