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Former Cowboys receiver Golden Richards, known for famous Super Bowl catch, dies at 73

MURRAY, Utah (AP) — Golden Richards, the former Dallas Cowboys receiver known for his flowing blond hair who famously caught a touchdown pass off a gadget play in the 1978 Super Bowl, died Friday of congestive heart failure at his home in Murray. He was 73.

Richards' nephew, Lance Richards, confirmed the death in a Facebook post.

“My uncle Golden passed away peacefully this morning,” Lance Richards wrote. “I will forever remember going hunting and talking Dallas Cowboy football. He was a kind and sweet soul and I’m so happy he’s not suffering anymore.”

The former BYU star spent seven seasons in the NFL with Dallas, Chicago and Denver, and is best known for his five-plus seasons as a deep-play threat with the Cowboys. He twice averaged more than 21 yards per catch, finishing his time in Dallas with an 18.3 career mark.

That was especially evident in the 1978 Super Bowl against Denver. With the Cowboys ahead 20-10 in the fourth quarter, fullback Robert Newhouse threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Richards, who got behind the defense to all but assure the Cowboys of their second championship.

Richards finished his career with 122 receptions for 2,136 yards and 17 TDs before injuries prompted him to retire in 1980.

A Salt Lake City native, he starred at Granite High School, then at nearby BYU, where he was a receiver and punt returner, leading the nation as a junior with four returns for TDs.

Richards played his final college season at Hawaii, catching 23 passes for 414 yards and five touchdowns. That caught the eye of the Cowboys, who drafted him in the second round in 1973.

The Deseret News said Richards struggled with health problems and drug addiction after retiring, but was sober over his final 10 years.

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

Richards was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011 and lived with adult sons Goldie Jr. and Jordan in his later years. Doug Richards said his brother broke his hip on Christmas in 2022 and had four hip surgeries.

“He has left us and gone to a better place,” Doug Richards said. “He fought pretty good there to the end, until it was his time.”

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John Coon, The Associated Press