IRVING, Texas (AP) -Ron Springs and Everson Walls will be together again on the field at Texas Stadium, this time for something more important than football.
Only six months after the successful transplant of a kidney donated by Walls for Springs, the former Dallas Cowboys teammates will serve as honorary captains for the Sept. 9 season opener. It's a chance to raise awareness about their new Gift for Life Foundation.
``We're using you to help a lot of people,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday. ``Y'all will never come close to making a play on the field that could even approach what this is all about.''
Springs suffered from Type 2 diabetes for 16 years and had been on the transplant waiting list since 2004. The Feb. 28 transplant was the first between two former U.S. professional athletes.
The former Cowboys want their story to be much more than that.
With their foundation, they want to educate people about ways to prevent chronic kidney disease and dispel myths about the living donor process. There are nearly 70,000 people now awaiting kidney transplants.
``What we realized, the thing that Everson did was so unusual that a friend would give another friend a body part,'' Springs said. ``We knew this had to be something that would open the eyes of many people. This is something unique.''
Jones said the former teammates will take part in the coin toss in the nationally televised season opener against the New York Giants. They will be decked out in their Cowboys jerseys - Springs in his No. 20 and Walls in No. 24 - and 40,000 rally towels will be distributed to fans.
``They don't have to honor me because I received a kidney. It's Everson that did a wonderful job,'' Springs said.
``I've gotten so much notoriety from this,'' said Walls, who has been honored by the likes of Jesse Jackson and the NFL Players Association. ``I have more hardware from what I did here than what I did all my years from playing with the Cowboys and in the NFL.''
Springs played for the Cowboys from 1979-84, usually starting in the backfield alongside Tony Dorsett. Walls was his teammate for only four seasons, but their friendship grew over the years.
While waiting for a donor, Springs found two relatives who were matches, but other issues got in the way. Then Walls decided to get tested.
Walls said he hasn't had to change how he lives. He still works out ``trying to stay healthy'' and is able to enjoy margaritas with his wife each Friday night.
Still, there is one thing Walls may not want to publicize on the night he returns to Texas Stadium.
``I'll try not to wear my Super Bowl ring,'' Walls said, referring to the championship he won with the 1990 Giants after playing the previous nine seasons in Dallas.

Recent NFL Discussions

SUPER BOWL PLAY on Mon, Feb 2017 by MichaelF12
2017 NFL Draft Props on Fri, Feb 2017 by Blade
Handicapping Week 1 on Fri, Feb 2017 by Blade
Blade what time do you get up on Thu, Feb 2017 by Blade
VIR- V TECH GAME on Sun, Feb 2017 by Timmy1961
Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Krik Cousins Next Team Prop Odds Which team will Kirk Cousins be playing for in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL regular season?
Thumbnail Tony Romo Next Team Prop Odds Which team will Tony Romo play for when the 2017 NFL regular season begins? Oddsmakers have weighed in.
Thumbnail Taylor could be fit in Cleveland Could current Bills Tyrod Taylor be a fit for the quarterback-needy Browns next season?
Thumbnail Palmer, Fitz both returning for Cards The Arizona Cardinals will have their starting quarterback back for 2017, as Carson Palmer confirmed he will return to play next season.
Thumbnail AFC Championship Odds In no surprise, the Patriots are favored to win the 2018 AFC Conference Championship over the Steelers and the rest of the field.

NFL Team Pages