Cowboys Cliff Harris on HOF Delay: 'I'm Still In; It Still Happened!'
DALLAS - Cliff Harris refuses to paint the postponement of this summer's Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement as a "disappointment.''
"I'm still in!'' the Dallas Cowboys legend said, laughing, shortly after being informed by HOF boss David Baker that the August and September plans are off. "It still happened!''
Harris, 71, was one of the two best safeties in the NFL during his time as a Cowboys standout. His wait for HOF recognition - he was elected as part of the Centennial Class of 2020 - has been a long time coming.
So ... what's another year's wait?
“I’m elated to be going into the Hall of Fame, at any time and in any form,” Harris said. “It’s just an incredible honor, and it's an incredible honor now and it'll be the same on the day it becomes official.''
But, Harris added, "the way I look at the (COVID-19-related cancellation of the Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers preseason game and the delay in enshrinement) is that this is a big-picture thing. There are a lot of complexities to a decision like that. And all of that is understandable.''
The Cowboys and Steelers are now scheduled to play on Aug. 5, 2021, in Canton. A massive induction is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 7-8, 2021 with a group including former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. (The new class of 2021 will receive their gold jackets on Aug. 8.)
"We were just getting around to the planning of a party in Canton and that sort of thing,'' said Harris, the six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl winner who was preparing to send out 200 invitations. It is suggested to him that maybe this winter there can be a pre-party, maybe in DFW, maybe starring Harris and Johnson and other Cowboys Hall-of-Famers, and that by the time team owner Jerry Jones gets involved - maybe with a charity feature? - it could be almost as big as Canton itself.
“There is so much turmoil in the world right now, so yes, I'd look forward to not only celebrating with Hall-of-Famers like Jerry and coach Johnson, but also in bringing something positive to the community,'' Harris said in response to the idea. "There will be an appropriate time to have a party. And I look forward to that.''