Robert Joe Cross (born April 4, 1931) was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Chicago Cardinals. Cross also played in the American Football League for the Boston Patriots and in the Canadian Football League for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, winning a Grey Cup with them in 1953. He played college football for Stephen F. Austin State University.
Cross attended Kilgore High School, where he practiced football, basketball and track. He accepted a scholarship from Stephen F. Austin State University, where he became a three-year starter.
In 1948, he placed second in the Border Olympics shot put competition, a track-and-field event held in Laredo in which Southwest Conference teams also participated.
Cross was selected by the Chicago Bears in the ninth round (104th overall) of the 1952 NFL Draft. Although he was named a starter as a rookie at right tackle, at the end of the season he opted to sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
In 1953, he was the starting left tackle for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, while helping the team win the Grey Cup.
On May 8, 1954, while he was in the process of asking for reinstatement into the National Football League, The Bears traded him to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for defensive end Larry Brink. He was a starter at left tackle. In the 1955 NFL Championship Game, he was moved to center to replace Leon McLaughlin who was sick with mumps.
On September 9, 1956, he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a third round draft choice (#27-George Strugar).
On August 31, 1958, after two seasons of playing at left tackle, he was traded to the Chicago Cardinals in exchange for a draft choice.
He played two seasons with the Chicago Cardinals. In 1959, he missed his first game in the NFL.
Cross was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft. He was tried at center but did not make the regular season roster.
On November 9, 1960, he was signed as a free agent by the Boston Patriots of the American Football League. He was a part of the franchise's inaugural season, playing in 4 games before being released on December 5.