They broke his heart.
While Former Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris learned he would join the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday, his former teammate Drew Pearson faced a different fate.
As part of the NFL’s Centennial Celebration, the Hall of Fame included 15 additional inductees, including 10 former players who have been eligible for more than 20 years.
Pearson had anxiously waited to get the call from Hall of Fame President David Baker all morning.
Joined by friends and family at his home in Plano, he watched the full three-hour, ratings-boosting, money-making reveal on NFL Network’s morning show “Good Morning Football.”
But his name was never called.
“Broke my heart,” Pearson said, fighting back tears. “They broke my heart. And they did it like this. They strung it out like this.”
Pearson walked outside and was consoled by family members.
"I don't get it," Pearson said through tears as he walked out of the family room in his home, where he'd gathered friends and family for what was supposed to be a celebratory moment.
The long-time Cowboys wideout was a three-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first team All-Pro, and a second team All-Pro in 1975. He won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, and led the NFL in receiving yards in 1977. He is a member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
There are 33 offensive players who were named 1st Team All-Decade in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. 32 of them are in the Hall of Fame. Drew Pearson is the only one who is not.
"They won't get me again," Pearson said in frustration, presumably referencing opening himself up to this disappointment in front of television cameras. "They won't get me again. They won't get me like this again. It's the last time."
The pain written across Pearson's face was felt by every person in the room, and is felt by countless Cowboys fans around the country.
"Hey man, I'm sorry," Pearson said as he walked back into the room. "I'm just disappointed. I just can't believe it."
With Harris finally joining the Hall of Fame, Pearson is now the lone member of the 1970’s All-Decade Team yet to be inducted.
Former Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris to join Pro Football Hall of Fame, teammate Drew Pearson snubbed
No. 88 has been eligible since ‘88.
Pearson, 69, is a Super Bowl Champion and was a favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach.
The legendary wide receiver popularized No. 88 for the Cowboys and was on the receiving end of Staubach’s iconic pass in the 1975 playoffs, which coined the “Hail Mary” term in football.
The 11-year Cowboy still can make the Hall of Fame in subsequent seasons, but this was a big opportunity in this Centennial Slate. In future years, it will be like it's been in the recent past for Pearson, via the Senior committee.
He has been out of the league for more than 25 years, so he is only eligible to go in as a Senior inductee. One or two senior inductees can go in each year, in addition to the current inductees and one or two contributors.
"They broke my heart," Pearson said again. "And they did it like this! They strung it out like this!"
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