DALLAS — Former Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley has quite a collection of signed footballs from players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but so far, it's an honor that has eluded him.
“It’s all Hall of Famers here,” Haley said. “It’s Dwight Clark, Deion [Sanders], Michael [Irwin], Tony Dorsett, Warren Moon, and Mean Joe Greene. He inspired me to be a defensive player.”
This weekend, Haley will be in New York to see if this is the year that he's finally added to that list.
“You know, I have no expectations,” he said at his home this week. “I believe that every guy that's on the list is worthy of getting into the Hall of Fame, but if that opportunity does come, it will be a great accomplishment for my career. I'm not going up there with high expectations to be let down."
That's because Charles Haley has been let down four times before.
“So what are you saying? I'm always a bridesmaid and never the bride?” Haley asked. “You know, I have no expectations; I believe that every guy that's on the list is worthy of getting into the Hall of Fame.”
As a former Cowboys player, Haley doesn't like what he's seeing with his former team, and says the players' standards and goals aren't set high enough.
“When you don't have anybody reaching for that higher level, their standard is right here and they're good with it; greatness is not born, it's made,” Haley said. “When is somebody going to stand up and become great?”
Haley said when he was playing, it was not just about making the playoffs, but reaching the Super Bowl.
“When the Dallas Cowboys start winning is when you hear guys talking about going to a Super Bowl,” Haley said. “They just talk about making the playoffs. They don't even talk about winning in the playoffs... it’s just about making the playoffs."
As for the Hall of Fame, it's the fifth time he's being considered — a number that matches his five Super Bowl rings.
“I just feel good about who Charles Haley is at this time,” he said. “Super Bowl rings or the Hall of Fame is not going to define me. Every day I’m trying to redefine who I am."
The Hall of Fame vote is Saturday.