1975 Dallas Cowboys Player Rankings: #37 Calvin Peterson
The football experts had crunched the numbers, fulfilled all their due deliberations, and arrived at a simple conclusion by the beginning of training camp. The 1975 Dallas Cowboys would, in all likelihood, carry only 6 linebackers on their final roster.
What may have sounded like trivial information to many was big news to Calvin Peterson. Peterson, a second-year player out of UCLA, was one of 9 linebackers in camp, and already there prevailed an unspoken acknowledgment around the locker room that there was no realistic chance of him cracking the top-six, which included the starters (Dave Edwards, Lee Roy Jordan, and D.D. Lewis) and then three highly touted rookie backups (Randy White, Thomas Henderson, and Bob Breunig.)
But rather than dwell on his precarious situation, Peterson went out to do something about it, performing so well during the summer months that he essentially forced his way onto the roster as a seventh linebacker. Primarily a special teams performer during his rookie season, Peterson made a decisive impact on defense during the exhibition schedule. He was one of the few bright spots for the Cowboys in their 26-20 preseason loss to Kansas City, recovering two fumbles, one of which he returned 18 yards for a touchdown.
And once the regular season began, Peterson was anything but idle. In addition to helping out on the Cowboys’ kick-coverage units, Peterson was a situational linebacker on the nickel defense, as well as occasionally serving as a defensive lineman on obvious passing downs.
During a late-November tussle with the Giants at Texas Stadium, Peterson notched his only theft of the season, intercepting a Craig Morton pass and returning it 19 yards in a 14-3 Dallas victory.