Cliff Harris
No. 43     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1948-11-12) November 12, 1948 (age 71)
Place of birth: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Career information
College: Ouachita Baptist
Undrafted in 1970
Debuted in 1970 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last played in 1979 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Interceptions     29
Interception yards     281
Touchdowns     1
Stats at

Clifford Allen Harris (born November 12, 1948 in Fayetteville, Arkansas) is a former professional American football safety who played for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for ten seasons.

Early yearsEdit

In High School he started his football career as a backup quarterback at Hot Springs High School, until moving to Des Arc High School for his senior season, where he would win the starter position and lead the Class A Eagles to an undefeated season (11-0).

Harris was only offered a scholarship to Ouachita Baptist University, after his father’s roommate at Ouachita convinced head coach Buddy Benson to do it. In College he became an accomplished defensive back, that played all of the secondary positions and also a quality Kickoff returner.

He was named to two All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) teams and was part of the 1966 AIC Football Championship team during his freshman season.[1] Harris was part of the track and field team and graduated with a degree in math.

He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (1985), the NAIA Hall of Fame (1978) and the Ouachita Athletics Hall of Fame (2003).

Professional careerEdit

Harris was not chosen in the 1970 NFL Draft out of NAIA school Ouachita Baptist University, but the Cowboys found him playing semipro football and invited him to training camp. He beat out Cowboys third-round draft choice Charlie Waters (who did not crack the starting lineup until the retirement of Cornell Green following the 1974 season) for the starting free safety position his rookie year. Military service caused him to miss the second half of the season, although he returned in time for the Cowboys' victory in Super Bowl VI over the Miami Dolphins and would never relinquish the position after 1971.

He would eventually team up with Waters to form the top safety duo in the NFL in the 1970's. Harris made it a point to wear the pads of placekickers in order to keep his speed and quickness up.

Harris was nicknamed "Captain Crash" by his teammates for his punishing hits and reckless pursuit of ball carriers and was also described as a "rolling ball of butcher knives" by hall of fame coach George Allen.[2] Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson said of Harris, "I feel Harris is the finest free safety in the business today. He changed the way the position is being played. You see other teams modeling their free safeties around the way Harris plays the pass, and striking fear in everyone on the field because he hits so hard.".[3] The Cowboys' defense ranked in the top 10 every year with him in the lineup.

He is one of only 13 players in NFL history to play in five Super Bowls, was chosen for the Pro Bowl six consecutive times and was voted All-Pro four times. Cowboys fans were surprised when Harris announced his retirement following the 1979 season at the age of 31 to concentrate on his oil business ventures. Sports Illustrated writers named him their Football Dream Team free safety. In 2004, he was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was added to the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. He was also selected to the National Football League 1970s All-Decade Team and the Cowboys Silver Season All-Time Team in 1991.

Harris finished his ten NFL seasons with 29 interceptions, which he returned for 281 yards and one touchdown, and 16 fumble recoveries, which he returned for 91 yards. He also was used in special teams during the first half of his career, gaining 418 yards on punt returns and 1,622 yards returning kickoffs.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

He and teammate Waters wrote a book about their Cowboy memories called Tales From the Dallas Cowboys. Outside of football, he works with Charlie Waters at a gas marketing company.


External linksEdit

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