Ron Springs
No. 20     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1956-11-04)November 4, 1956
Place of birth: Williamsburg, Virginia
Date of death: May 12, 2011(2011-05-12) (aged 54)
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 213 lb (97 kg)
Career information
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1979 / Round: 5 / Pick: 136
Debuted in 1979 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last played in 1986 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A
Career NFL statistics as of 1986
Rushing Yards     2,519
Receiving Yards     2,259
Rushing TDs     28
Stats at

Ronald Edward "Ron" Springs (November 4, 1956 – May 12, 2011) was a professional American football running back, who played eight seasons in the NFL, for the Dallas Cowboys from 1979 to 1984, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985–1986. He is the father of NFL cornerback Shawn Springs. He also played with Lawrence Taylor and Mel Gray at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Early yearsEdit

Springs graduated from Lafayette High School where he played football alongside the former New York Giant and Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, and one of the best return specialists in NFL history in Mel Grey. As a senior at Lafayette in 1974, he rushed for a then-Peninsula District-record 1,876 yards, including 315 in one game.

Springs attended Coffeyville Community College in 1975, where his 2,047 rushing yards remains a school record.

The following year, he enrolled at Ohio State University, where he played three years under Woody Hayes and led the Buckeyes in both rushing (1,166 yards) and receiving (16 catches for 90 yards) in 1977. In 1978, he was elected a team co-captain.

Springs was the last Buckeye with less than 100 yards receiving on a season to lead the team in receptions. He still ranks 18th on the all time rushing list at Ohio State University with 2,140 yards.

In 2003 he was among the first inductees into Lafayette’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Professional careerEdit

Dallas CowboysEdit

Springs was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 5th round of the 1979 NFL Draft.

During his rookie season he was the backup for Tony Dorsett and played special teams.

In 1980 he put on 10 pounds during the off-season and won the fullback job from Robert Newhouse, but he was injured in the 5th game and didn't regain the starter position until the next season.

Springs was primarily a blocking back for Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, but he got plenty of opportunities to run and catch in Tom Landry's multiple set offense. In this system he thrived as a versatile player that could run, catch, block, and occasionally even throw the option pass.

In 1981 he gained 984 yards rushing and receiving combined and lead the team with 12 touchdowns and 46 catches. Although his most important role might have been his leadership qualities, that gained him the respect of many people within the Cowboys organization.

In 1983 he set a club record for running backs with 73 catches for 589 yards, that year he also rushed for 541 yards and scored 8 touchdowns.

He was released during the 1985 training camp.

Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

In 1985 Springs was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he played his final 2 seasons serving as a backup to running back James Wilder.

He retired after the 1986 season having played in the NFL for 8 years. His career totals were 2,519 yards rushing with 28 touchdowns and 249 receptions for 2,259 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Health concerns and deathEdit

Springs was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990, which led to him having both his right foot and two toes from the left amputated. In 2004, needing a kidney, he was placed on the national transplant list. Though his son, Shawn, offered to end his career and donate a kidney, Ron refused.[1] In 2006, former teammate and best friend Everson Walls agreed to donate one of his kidneys, and the transplant took place in March.[2] On Tuesday, October 16, 2007, it was reported that Springs slipped into a coma after going into cardiac arrest while having an operation performed on an elbow cyst the previous weekend. He remained in this state until his death, and his son left his team to be with Ron during that time. Doctors reported in 2007 that there was no chance of Springs surviving; however, his family continued encouraging Ron by talking to him daily.[3] On January 5, 2008, former Cowboy teammate Bill Bates held a charity event to help raise funds for the foundation connected with Ron's illness. Ron's wife, Adrianne, continued to show encouragement to those concerned about Ron's condition, stating that news of the event's turnout might help wake Ron from his coma.

On January 21, 2008, Adrianne Springs filed a lawsuit on behalf of her husband against the two doctors who performed the surgery, alleging malpractice.[4]

Springs died on May 12, 2011, due to a heart attack.[2]


Preceded by
Jeff Logan
Ohio State Buckeyes
Starting Tailbacks

Succeeded by
Calvin Murray
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