Greatest Cowboys By Their Jersey Numbers: #17

Part of the Greatest Players by Number Series

Jersey #17

Five players have worn #17, including two receivers and three quarterbacks.

Harold Carmichael, WR, Southern, 1984

Statistics: Carmichael caught 589 passes with the Eagles from 1971 to 1983, but had only one reception in 1984 for the Cowboys.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Carmichael was at the end of a long career when he joined Dallas in 1984. He appeared in only two games.

Intangibles: Seeing Carmichael in a Dallas uniform was a bit like seeing Emmitt Smith in a Cardinals’ jersey or Tony Dorsett in a Broncos’ jersey. He just did not belong.

Quincy Carter, QB, Georgia, 2001-03

Statistics: In 31 games for Dallas during a three-year period, Carter threw for 5839 yards with 29 TDs and 36 Ints.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Carter opened his rookie season as the starter but suffered an injury. He eventually started a total of eight games in 2001. He began the 2002 season as the starter, but lost his job to Chad Hutchinson. He regained his starting job yet again in 2003 and led the Cowboys to the playoffs. But he had off-the-field problems that led Dallas to release him during training camp in 2004.

Intangibles: With the hype surrounding Michael Vick, Dallas wanted an athletic quarterback in the 2001 draft. Carter was not a complete bust, but he did not fulfill the expectations that Jerry Jones had of him. He was last seen playing in the Arena Football League’s minor league (afl2).

Jason Garrett, QB, Princeton, 1993-99

Statistics: In seven years with Dallas, Garrett started nine games. He threw for a total of 2042 yards with 11 TDs and only 5 Ints.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Garrett was a backup in Dallas for seven seasons. He played one year for the Giants before ending his career.

Intangibles: Garrett is probably the most well-known third-string quarterback in team history, thanks to his heroics during the 1994 Thanksgiving game against Green Bay. Garrett played sparingly for most of his career but was dependable when needed.

Sam Hurd, WR, N. Illinois, 2006-present

Statistics: In two seasons with Dallas, Hurd has caught 24 passes for 389 yards. His lone career touchdown sealed a Dallas win against the Giants in 2007.

Accolades: None with Dallas.

Longevity: Hurd is in his second season with the Cowboys. He was originally signed as a free agent.

Intangibles: Hurd has stood out as a playmaking receiver during the past two preseasons. He was moved into the third receiver spot in 2007 due to an injury to Terry Glenn. He gets limited opportunities, though, due to the presence of so many other weapons.

Don Meredith, QB, SMU, 1960-68

Statistics: Meredith threw for 17,199 yards with 135 TDs and 111 Ints. in nine seasons with Dallas.

Accolades: He was a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All Pro. He was named to the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1976.

Longevity: Meredith survived the growing pains associated with leading an expansion club during the 1960s. However, the beating he took on the field, and especially the beating he took from the press and the fans, led him to retire prior to the 1969 season.

Intangibles: Meredith was a tough quarterback who led a prolific Dallas passing attack. Fans remember him much more fondly now thanks to his work on Monday Night Football during the 1970s and 1980s, but fans were ruthless towards him during his playing days.


Here are the results of the poll for this number:

Greatest #17

  • Don Meredith (90%, 208 Votes)
  • Jason Garrett (7%, 16 Votes)
  • Sam Hurd (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Quincy Carter (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Harold Carmichael (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 231

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If you still want to vote, please make a comment below.

My Vote: Meredith

Don MeredithThere is no question that Meredith is the best of this group, though I suspect that Garrett will get some votes due to name recognition for his coaching. Meredith still ranks in the top five in team history in several passing categories, although is 50.7% career completion percentage stands out as a negative. His best season as far as statistics was his last in 1968, when he threw for 2500 yards and 21 TDs.

  • Unfortunately, I never got to see Meredith play. He did retire in his prime to pursue other interest, or perhaps he was just fed up with the negative publicity he tended to get from the Dallas Media, eitehr way, he was one of the top 3 QBs in Cowboys history (Staubach, Aikman, Meredith) in that order.

    Most of my memories of Meredith are from the Broadcast booth. I can still hear him saying; “99 and a half yards”. I can also hear him singing “Turn out the lights, the party’s over”. I believe that Dandy Don is now living in New Mexico and prefers his privacy. Although I think you can still get him to sign autographs, you never see him on the autograph circuit (card shows).

  • Fred Goodwin

    I also voted for Dandy Don, and count myself fortunate that I was actually able to see him play (albeit on TV, never in person).

    Don was probably the toughest man ever to play the QB position for Dallas.

    I became a dyed-in-the-wool Meredith fan during a game in which he was already playing with a mask to protect a broken nose. He was also wearing a “flak-jacket” to protect some dislocated ribs.

    I forget the game & opponent (I think it was during the ’67 season), but he was sacked hard on one play, and after being driven to the ground, the red liquid of the flak-jacket began to ooze out.

    This lead the opponent (I don’t recall his name) to think he’d killed Meredith after seeing what he thought was blood soak through Don’s jersey.

    Morton relieved him for a plays, but if I recall correctly, Meredith finished the game, led the team to a tough 9-5 record and into the playoffs, where they beat the Browns, but lost to the Packers in the “Ice Bowl”.

    Meredith was definitely one tough cookie.

  • Fred Goodwin

    I’m not sure if this book includes a bio of Den Meredith, but he is pictured on the cover. Also, the short length (96p) of the book leads me to wonder if this is a children’s book.

    Texas Football Legends: Greats of the Game, by Carlton Stowers (2008)

    Book Description

    Heisman Trophy winners, All-Americans, All-Pros, MVPs and record-setters have, throughout the glamorous history of football in Texas, been all but commonplace. For decades, one set of superstars routinely replaced another, constantly adding to the proud legacy of the state’s favorite sport. In Texas Football Legends you’ll meet the cream of a rich and talented crop, reliving those days when they climbed to stardom from high school stadiums in out-of-the-way places to the Saturday afternoon cheers as collegians, and finally in the celebrated ranks of professional football.

    As you read of their individual deeds, you’ll hear the cherished echoes of championship games won and lost, high goals achieved and adversities overcome. Borrowing from a long-used cliché in Texas, football has been elevated to a form of religion. That said, this collection of biographies of the greatest of the great serves as the game’s Sunday Best.

    About the Author

    Award-winning author CARLTON STOWERS has spent a lengthy career in press boxes throughout the nation. In addition to writing on Texas high school and college football, he covered the NFL Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News. He’s also written numerous books on sports.

    Product Details

    * Hardcover: 96 pages
    * Publisher: Texas Christian University Press (October 30, 2008)
    * Language: English
    * ISBN-10: 0875653766
    * ISBN-13: 978-0875653761

  • Fred Goodwin

    The publisher confirms the book does include a chapter on Meredith.

  • meridith fan

    Jeff and Hazels boy did us in Dallas proud

    He also took a beating from his coach who wanted his quarterback to appear more serious.

    Meridith rivals all for his competitiveness.

  • The Franklin County Historical Association has a Don Meredith biography for sale.

    “Memories of Don Meredith and Hometown Mount Vernon” was written by Jean Pamplin in 1999. It can be ordered by mail for those who can’t make it to Mount Vernon. Send a check for $15 to Franklin County Historical Association, PO Box 289, Mount Vernon, TX 75457.

    Fans have long wished for a Meredith bio — this may be the best we can get.

  • kristin

    My all-time favorite player! Imagine my delight, and the fun we had, having a dad who’s name is Don Meredith, especially living in Texas in the mid-60’s. Of course, it did mean some interupted sleep for him, when my generation was busy making prank calls in the middle of the night. It wouldn’t have been nearly the good entertainment if the athlete “Dandy Don” hadn’t been such a wonderful guy, fabulous player, and well-loved broadcast personality for Monday NIght Football. He’ll always be revered, and fondly remembered, in this Meredith family!!!

  • FriendlySam

    It is indeed a sad day with the passing of Dandy Don. I have many fond memories of the Cowboys when he was their quarterback. I’m sure time has embellished the memories, but it seems that there were many times that they were trailing late in the game and the announcers (mostly on the radio as I drove between west Texas and the Dallas area) would announce “It’s a bomb from Meredith to Hayes . . . . touchdown! God bless you Don, and thanks for some great memories.