With “Dandy” Don Meredith’s retirement following the 1968 season, the jersey No. 17 faded into obscurity in the annals of Cowboys history.
Sure, Quincy Carter threw for 3,000 yards and won 10 games wearing that number in 2003, and Dwayne Harris returned a couple of punts for touchdowns as No. 17. It’s also the number Jason Garrett wore in his seven years as a backup quarterback in the 90s.
But the number has largely been insignificant otherwise.
Allen Hurns’ arrival in Dallas has a chance to change that narrative. Cowboys fans can once again care about the No. 17 – not only because of Hurns' potential to boost the Cowboys’ receiving corps on the field, but also because of his reason for choosing it.
Hurns, who comes to Dallas after five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, will don the No. 17 in honor of the victims of the Florida high school shooting last month.
“Seventeen people lost their lives, so I chose that number,” Hurns said in an interview with 105.3 The Fan.
The Jaguars play 300 miles up the coast from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which went under siege on Valentine’s Day. But Hurns grew up in Miami and attended high school just 25 miles south of Stoneman Douglas and played college ball at Miami.
Hurns, who wore No. 88 in Jacksonville, conceded just after the signing that the number – which is iconic in Cowboys history thanks to Michael Irvin, Drew Pearson and Bryant – belonged to Dez.
“Not sure what number I’ll be rocking yet but that 88 all Dez,” he tweeted March 23.
According to Cowboys.com writer David Helman, Hurns had just eight unused numbers to choose from. Hurns decided on No. 17 Monday morning.