Danny Noonan (American football)

Danny Noonan
No. 73, 95
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1965-07-14) July 14, 1965
Place of birth: Lincoln, Nebraska
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 282 lb (128 kg)
Career information
High school: Lincoln (NE) Northeast
College: Nebraska
NFL Draft: 1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 73
Games started: 41
Quarterback sacks: 15
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Daniel Nicholas Noonan (born July 14, 1965) is a former American football defensive end in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. He played college football at the University of Nebraska.

Early years

Noonan played both defensive and offensive tackle at Lincoln Northeast High School, while helping the team win a state title in 1982. He was selected to play in the state’s 1983 All-Star Shrine Bowl football game played at Nebraska Memorial Stadium.

College career

He accepted a scholarship from the University of Nebraska and played as a defensive end as a freshman. During his junior season, defensive coordinator coach Charlie McBride moved him to middle guard and became a starter. He had a dominant season as a senior when the team ranked second in the nation in total defense.[1] After finishing with 53 tackles and 7 sacks, he received numerous awards and honors, including the Big 8 Athlete-of-the-Year, First-Team All-American (AP, UPI, FWAA, Kodak, Walter Camp, Football News), All Star Japan Bowl and Big 8 Player-of-the-Week (Florida State).[2]

Noonan was coached at Nebraska by Tom Osborne and is a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was selected by the Omaha World-Herald as one of Nebraska's Top 100 greatest athletes.[3]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round (12th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft, with the intention of being the eventual successor to All-Pro Randy White and to help revitalize an aging defensive line.[4] After having the longest holdout by a rookie in franchise history at the time,[5] he fell behind in learning the nuances of head coach Tom Landry's flex defense and was only a situational player, first at defensive end, before being moved to defensive tackle to backup White and finishing with 27 tackles and one sack.

By his second season he was considered the Cowboys strongest player, being able to bench press 505 pounds. Despite suffering hip and knee injuries, his best year statistically was in 1988, when he replaced White as the starter at right tackle, while recording 16 starts, 84 tackles, 7.5 sacks (tied for the team lead with Garry Cobb) and returned one interception for a touchdown.

In 1989, he missed 9 games with a groin injury he suffered in training camp, posting only 5 starts and one sack. He resumed his starting role (15 starts) in 1990, finishing fourth (first among defensive lineman) on the team in tackles (85) and also registered 4.5 sacks, 16 quarterback pressures and 4 passes defensed.

After starting the first 3 games at right tackle in 1991, with the addition of Tony Casillas, plus the emergence of Russell Maryland and Jimmie Jones, he was moved to a backup role and played sparingly the rest of the season, making 11 tackles and one sack.[6] He was released after the first 2 games of the 1992 season, to make room for Russell Maryland upon his return from a toe injury.[7] He started 41 out of 67 possible games and recorded 15 sacks in his Cowboys career.

Green Bay Packers

On September 15, 1992, he was claimed off waivers by the Green Bay Packers, played 6 games as a backup in the team's 3-4 defense and recorded 4 tackles,[8] before being waived on November 10.[9]

Denver Broncos

Noonan signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 1993. He retired on August 17, after missing almost half of the team's training camp with a knee injury.[10]

Personal life

Noonan married his wife Julie in 2002 and has five children (Sydney, Sam, Maverick, Alec and Branson). He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science Degree and has an MBA from Columbia Southern University. He is President of the National Football League Players Association retired player chapter in Nebraska.


  1. "No. 6 Huskers May Have Best 'Middle Man' Around". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  2. "Kelly, Noonan chosen top Big Eight athletes". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. "The Nebraska 100". Omaha World-Herald. 2005. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  4. "Cowboys Opt to Fortify Defense". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. "Noonan ends holdout". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. "Noonan wants fresh start". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  7. "Cowboys release Noonan". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  8. "Packers gets rights to lineman Noonan". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  9. "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  10. "Noonan retires". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
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