Jimmy Harris (defensive back)

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Jimmy Harris
No. 20, 44, 40
Position: Defensive back
Personal information
Born: (1934-11-12)November 12, 1934
Terrell, Texas
Died: August 9, 2011(2011-08-09) (aged 76)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 178 lb (81 kg)
Career information
High school: Terrell (TX)
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 1957 / Round: 5 / Pick: 50
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

James Bedford Harris (November 12, 1934 – August 9, 2011) was an American football defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, and Dallas Cowboys. He also played in the American Football League (AFL) for the Dallas Texans. He played college football at the University of Oklahoma.

Early years[edit]

Harris, who was born in Terrell, Texas and attended Terrell High School. Although he originally committed to Texas A&M University, to play for head coach Bear Bryant, head coach Bud Wilkinson convinced him to come to the University of Oklahoma, after getting him a job as a roughneck in the Oklahoma oil fields.

He played college football at the University of Oklahoma, where he was the starting quarterback during much of the Oklahoma Sooners' famed 47-game winning streak.

Harris went undefeated after becoming quarterback during the 1954 season, after starter Gene Calame suffered a right collar bone injury. He also was undefeated during the 1955 and 1956 seasons, leading the Sooners to national championships in both years.[1]

He won all of his 25 starts, finishing with 39 completions out of 80 attempts for 745 yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 254 rushing attempts for 1,237 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In 2013, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

Harris was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round (50th overall) of the 1957 NFL Draft.[3] As a rookie, he was converted into a defensive back. On May 26, 1958, he was traded along with offensive tackle Buck Lansford and a number one draft choice (#2-Dick Bass), to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Norm Van Brocklin.[4]

Los Angeles Rams[edit]

In 1958, he appeared in 12 games, tallying 4 interceptions. In 1960, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 1962 fifth round draft choice (#60-Jim Smith).

Dallas Texans[edit]

On April 14, 1960, he was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Texans of the American Football League, after spending the previous year coaching at the University of Oklahoma.[5] He was temporarily blocked from joining the Texans until the court settled a suit filed by the Dallas Cowboys, to prevent him from playing for any other team.[6] He appeared in 14 games and was mostly a backup player.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

In 1961, he joined the Dallas Cowboys after the court ruled in their favor.[7] He appeared in 11 games with 4 starts and made 2 interceptions. He retired at the end of the year.

Personal life[edit]

Harris was an assistant football coach at the University of Oklahoma in 1959. After football, he co-owned an oil company named Midroc Operating Company. On August 9, 2011, he died of lung cancer.[8]


  1. ^ "Sooner QB great Jimmy Harris dies". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame: Former OU quarterback Jimmy Harris will be presented by Jay Wilkinson". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Eagles Draft Harris; Rams Take Derby". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Philadelphia Eagles Get Van Brocklin". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Jimmy Harris Signs With Dallas Texans". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Cowboys Try To Block Out Player In New Grid League". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Poke rookies in camp early". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ "The quarterback who never lost, OU's Jimmy Harris, dies at 76". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]