Ex-Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champ Has Died

Ex-Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champ Has Died

John “Golden” Richards, a celebrated athlete known for his dynamic career as a wide receiver with Brigham Young University and the Dallas Cowboys, died at his home in Murray, Utah, on Friday.

Richards, who was 73, died of congenital heart failure, Desert News reported.

His death was confirmed by his brother, Doug Richards, himself a former Brigham Young University basketball standout, who said, “He has left us and gone to a better place. He fought pretty good there to the end, until it was his time.”

Golden Richards’ life was marked by remarkable achievements on the football field as well as significant personal struggles, particularly with health and prescription drug issues in his later years.

His brother confirmed that the star player’s health had been in decline for some time, exacerbated by a hip injury sustained on Christmas Day 2022.

This injury led to four subsequent surgeries, contributing significantly to his deteriorating physical condition and a rapid decline in his mental faculties, which was further exacerbated as a result of sustaining multiple concussions and the physical demands of the sport on his body and his mind.

“Seven or eight years of wear and tear on the football field for a 175-pound wide receiver who was concussed several times, too. That obviously took its toll,” Doug Richards said of his brother.

Golden Richards’ athletic journey began at Granite High in Salt Lake City, where he excelled in football, basketball and track, earning all-state honors before going on to play football for BYU.

At BYU, he wore the No. 22 in homage to his childhood hero, Bob Hayes, who also played wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

Richards played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1973 to 1978, and was widely remembered for a famous catch he made on a touchdown pass during Super Bowl XII in 1978.

U.S. News reported that he finished his career with an impressive 122 receptions for 2,136 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Richards retired from football in 1980 due to his injuries.

After his retirement, he faced personal challenges, including a battle with alcoholism and prescription drug addiction.

His brother noted the NFL’s role in those struggles, indicating the ease with which pain medication was provided to players.

“It was well-documented that he had difficulties with opioids and pain pills they gave him playing football,” Doug told Desert News. “In the NFL, they handed them out like aspirin.”

However, Richards tackled these issues head-on and achieved sobriety during the last decade of his life, his brother said.

In 2011, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Richards is survived by two adult sons — Goldie Jr. and Jordan — and a grandson, Jett.

The Dallas Cowboys were among many that paid tribute to their former player.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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