Welcome to the latest edition of the Countdown and Kickoff series. We currently sit 43 days until kickoff, and while I love to talk about that matchup (my early prediction: Cowboys win), we have some crowning to do.
On Saturday, I selected Robert “The Human Bowling Ball” Newhouse as the Greatest 44, so if you missed it, check it out above. But to keep your mind occupied on this lovely Sunday morning, let's dive into today's honoree, CB Cliff Harris.
The Following Players (Along with Harris) Have Worn #43 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Corey Clement, RB (2021-2021)
- Cliff Harris, FS (1970-1979)
- Azur Kamara, LB (2021-2021)
- Elvis Patterson, CB (1993-1993)
- Don Perkins, FB (1961-1968)
- Izell Reese, FS (1998-2001)
- Gerald Sensabaugh, FS (2009-2012)
- Ito Smith, RB (2021-2021)
- Malcolm Smith, MLB (2019-2019)
Cliff Harris's NFL Career
Imagine you're a collegiate athlete hoping to get drafted in the newly-merged NFL as the AFL & NFL came together in 1970, but you don't get drafted by anyone. But you get picked up by the Dallas Cowboys, take the starting spot over a franchise's ACTUAL DRAFT PICK–and then you two form one of the best safety duos during the 1970s.
Well, if you're Cliff Harris, then you don't have to imagine.
Harris, a full-time starter for the Cowboys in his rookie year, started his journey to a HOF NFL career at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. And, I'm not going to lie, I didn't even know this school existed till today.
A highly-accomplished college player during his time, Harris put his name in the 1970 NFL Draft, but as mentioned–he went undrafted. While that could have spelled the end of his aspirations, Harris beat the odds, became a starter, and had one hell of a career.
Known as “Captain Crash” for his vicious hitting style, I quickly learned how physical Harris was after seeing this video below. (Also, seeing SS Charlie Waters, who was Harris's running-mate, I would imagine teams were terrified seeing any of those two coming downhill.)
And, before we dive into Harris's career statistics and allocades, I thought it was cool to see he made an impact on the FS position– as Pro Football HOF Safety Larry Wilson once said, Harris was the finest FS in the business, and he changed the way the free safety position was played.
Diving into his stats, Harris finished his NFL career with 29 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries, and one touchdown. While that may not sound like the best statistics, Harris was a critical guy to the franchise's five Super Bowl appearances, as he won two out of five.
Throw in that he was also a 6-time Pro Bowler, 5-time All-Pro, member of the 1970s All-Decade Team, Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, and the Pro Football HOF–you could say he was a solid player.
Also, to change subjects real quick, I wanted to ask fans: Who would you all consider as the modern-day Cliff Harris?
But to wrap it up, cheers to another accomplishment getting added to Mr. Harris's resume, and congratulations to him on being the Greatest 43 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back on Monday to see who the Greatest 42 in franchise history is, and have a good Sunday Funday!