Legends of the Star – Cliff Harris

This week’s “Legend of the Star” is one of the best defensive players in Cowboys history, none other than Cliff Harris. Although Cliff was not drafted in 1970, he was invited by the Cowboys to training camp where he shocked his coaches with his intense style of play. Although the organization had just drafted the highly touted Charlie Waters, the Cowboys surprised everyone in the league when they announced that Cliff Harris would be the starter at free safety for the season opener.

 Cliff Harris single handedly led the secondary with his “all-out” style of play and due to his relentless pursuit of the ball carrier he was soon nicknamed “Captain Crash” by his teammates. His devastating hits struck fear in the hearts of any ball carrier that got in his way. The new nickname became synonymous with his hard-nosed, bone-crushing style of play and many football experts credit Cliff Harris for changing the way the free safety position is played today.

His rookie year was interrupted due to military service, but he returned just in time to help the Cowboys win Super Bowl VI over the Dolphins. He continued playing at free safety for the next 9 seasons, and began to compile some incredible achievements while playing one great season after another. He was considered by many to being the most dominating defensive player in the NFL during his tenure. In a stunning decision, he announced his retirement following the 1979 season to pursue his business ventures.

Harris finished his 10 NFL seasons with 29 interceptions, which he returned for 281 yards and 1 touchdown, and 18 fumble recoveries, which he returned for 91 yards. He also gained 418 yards on punt returns and 1,622 yards returning kickoffs.

During his short yet remarkable career, he made 5 Super Bowl appearances and was chosen for the Pro Bowl six consecutive times. He is in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and Sports Illustrated Writers named him their Dream Team free safety. In 2004 he was selected to the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor for his contributions to the franchise. He truly was a “Legend of the Star” in every sense and I enjoyed telling you a little about this great Cowboy.

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys. 

Legends of the Star – Don Meredith

Although he never led the Dallas Cowboys to an NFL Championship or a Super Bowl, "Dandy" Don Meredith was one of the most popular players in team history. After an amazing college career as a quarterback for Southern Methodist University, he gained national recognition and was selected as an All-American in 1958 and 1959. In 1960 he was drafted with the 3rd overall pick by the Chicago Bears and immediately traded to the NFL’s newest franchise, the Dallas Cowboys.

After languishing on the bench for his first 5 years on the team, he was named starting quarterback in 1965 by Tom Landry and never looked back. He made an immediate impact with his gritty style of play and his mental and physical toughness. He set many Cowboys records which still stand today, including the longest pass in franchise history, a 95 yard strike to Bob Hayes in 1966. He also threw a record 5 touchdowns passes in a single game, a team record that was recently matched by Tony Romo last season. After leading the Cowboys to their first winning seasons as a franchise, he shocked the sports world by announcing his sudden retirement shortly before the 1969 season. During his short career as starter he was selected to the Pro Bowl twice and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1966. He threw for an impressive 17,199 yards and 135 touchdowns in his career, and in 1976, Don Meredith was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

After leaving the game he went on to become an actor, but gamed national fame once again as the color commentator of "Monday Night Football" from 1970 until 1984. Some of you may also remember Don as the spokesperson for Lipton tea in 1970’s and 1980’s.

 

Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.