Team mates, business partners, and best friends. Charlie Waters (41) and Cliff Harris (43) formed the best safety tandem in the NFL during their careers.
Coming out of North Augusta High School in South Carolina, Charlie Waters was a two sport prep star. The Yellow Jackets quarterback chose football over baseball, and he accepted a scholarship to Clemson. By the spring of his junior year, Charlie was the starting QB for the Tigers. For him; however, it was an auspicious beginning. With Waters at the helm, Clemson started the 1968 season 0-3-1, and a change was in order. Charlie was replaced as the Tiger quarterback, settling in at wide receiver instead. He would finish his career at that position, becoming an All-ACC selection during his senior year. In just over a season and a half as a wide out, Waters caught 68 passes for 1196 yards. At that time both marks were school records.
During the 1970 NFL Draft, Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys selected the wide out with the 66th overall pick; however, they had no intention of using him on offense. Charlie Waters would join the team as a defensive back. At first, things did not come easy for Waters, and he was nearly cut. Before long though, Charlie was back on top of his game, becoming the back up to Cliff Harris at free safety. When Harris left the team to serve his military obligation, the secondary didn't miss a beat. Charlie Waters recorded five interceptions in the six games he started; and he was named the 1970 All Rookie free safety. The following season, with Harris' return, Charlie became a cornerback, but that transition was not an easy one for him to make. He split time as a starter over the next four seasons. He looked like a one hit wonder for the Cowboys.
With the retirement of Cornell Green, for 1975 Waters once again made a position change, becoming the Dallas strong safety. He responded immediately. Over the next few years Charlie Waters and Cliff Harris would form the best safety tandem in professional football. Charlie was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls as a strong safety and twice was named All Pro. Unfortunately, he was denied a shot at a fourth straight Pro Bowl when a knee injury forced him to miss the entire 1979 season. Waters would return to the Cowboys for 1980, and he gave the team two more solid seasons before retiring from the game. Over the course of 11 active seasons with the Cowboys, Charlie Waters recorded 41 interceptions, which is still good enough to rank him third in team history. Among those picks are nine playoff interceptions, including three in one game. Both of these marks are current NFL records. He is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Silver Anniversary Team, and one of the best loved players in franchise history.