College Hall of Famer, eight-year NFL veteran Dial dies at 71

HOUSTON -- Buddy Dial, a star receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers who also played for the Dallas Cowboys, has died. He was 71.

Dial died Friday in a Houston hospital. He had been hospitalized recently for treatment of cancer and pneumonia.

Dial played in the NFL for eight years -- with the Steelers from 1959-63 and the Cowboys from 1964-66. He still holds the second-highest per catch average in NFL history at 20.8 yards. In 1963, he caught 60 passes for 1,295 yards and nine touchdowns.

"Because Buddy did not play on any championship teams during his NFL career, he may not have received all of the publicity that our more modern-day players receive, but he was as good," Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said.

Dial was born in Ponca City, Okla., and played at Rice. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and the National High School Hall of Fame in 2002.

After his playing career, Dial settled in the Houston suburb of Tomball, where he was a prominent speaker for civic, church, and charity groups.

Funeral services were scheduled for Wednesday in Magnolia.