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Gil Brandt, personnel savant who was among first people hired by Cowboys, to join Ring of Honor

Gil Brandt revolutionized the world of scouting and talent acquisition during his 29-year tenure as the Cowboys' vice president of player personnel from 1960-1988.
Credit: Lisa Lake
Gil Brandt during a Sirius XM radio broadcast. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Longtime Cowboys Vice President of player personnel Gil Brandt on Friday was announced as the 22nd member of the team’s distinguished “Ring of Honor,” a Hall of Fame of sorts that immortalizes the most influential figures in Cowboys franchise history on the facades of AT&T Stadium.

Brandt was one of the first people hired by the Cowboys after they were announced as the league’s newest expansion franchise in 1960.

What followed was a 29-year career during which Brandt, Tex Schramm, Clint Murchison and Tom Landry built a two-time Super Bowl champion.

“Gil is someone that has been so instrumental [to] all of the pluses, and all of things that have made the Cowboys pluses, throughout the years,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during a Friday press conference at the Ford Center. “[His efforts] culminate in a room like this.”

The Ring of Honor reveal came after a cryptic Thursday announcement about a “football-related” press conference scheduled for Friday.

Brandt’s expertise during a lengthy NFL career came as a pioneer in scouting and talent evaluation. Jones noted that Brandt was responsible for the acquisition of 15 of the 19 players in the Ring of Honor.

“He developed a new, creative approach to player acquisition still used today,” Jones said.

Brandt was one of the minds behind the NFL Scouting Combine, which has grown into a three-day production in the spring ahead of the annual NFL Draft.

He posted reaction to his being tapped for the Ring of Honor on Twitter before the press conference.

"Honored. Humble. Proud," he wrote.

It was Jones who fired Brandt less than three months after he purchased the team in 1989. Brandt, though, thanked Jones for doing so, saying the firing “opened up a lot of avenues” for him.

In addition to Brandt’s ouster, Jones’ arrival also led to the firing of Landry and Schramm’s resignation.

Brandt, 85, will join the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor on Nov. 29, when the New Orleans Saints visit AT&T Stadium. He’s also a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame, for which inductees will be honored next summer.

The scouting mastermind tipped his cap to the Cowboys’ most recent move, calling wide receiver Amari Cooper a “great addition.” The Cowboys dealt a first-round pick to Oakland for Cooper during their bye week.

Brandt’s endorsement of the trade earned him a tongue-in-cheek handshake from Jones.