Being the 100th season of the NFL, the 2020 class is larger than usual, with an expanded 20-member class to be held in Canton, Ohio.
Fifteen of these members are part of a special centennial class, consisting of 10 seniors (players who last played more than 25 years ago), three collaborators (an individual other than a player or a coach) and two coaches.
Pearson, Super Bowl champion and member of the NFL’s 70s 10-year team, thought it would be his year.
Instead, it was a day of disappointment.
His name was not called and he could not hide his emotions.
“They broke my heart,” said Pearson. “They broke my heart. And they did it like this! They brought it out like this.”
Pearson was with Dallas from 1973-1983. He played 156 games, collecting 489 passes for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. He appeared in the Super Bowl three times, winning Super Bowl XII in 1978.
“I can’t help it,” said Pearson in tears. “I can no longer capture the damned steps. I cannot travel more paths. It is there. What upsets me most is when they say you don’t deserve it, they talk about you in a negative way. There is nothing negative in mine career in the NFL. Nothing! “
Fellow Cowboys players shared Pearson’s frustration. Former Cowboy receiver Dez Bryant, who wore the number 88 as Pearson did, tweeted: “What they did to Drew Pearson is not fair … Original 88 … you deserve to be in the hall of fame no if and but about .. I’m sorry how they are making you friend … “
Tony Dorsett, the legendary Cowboys who ran back and Hall of Famer, was Pearson’s teammate in the Cowboys. Dorsett tweeted one of his photos with Pearson, writing: “So disappointed that my man @ 88DrewPearson was not selected for @ProFootballHOF. He deserves to be there. Great player, great man and great friend.”
The 15 were elected by a panel during a meeting at the Hall of Fame last week. They will be joined in the 2020 class by five former players of the modern era. That group of five will be elected on February 1, the day before Super Bowl LIV, in Miami. The lesson will be unveiled at the NFL Honors, a two-hour special in prime time awards aired nationwide on the eve of Super Bowl LIV at 8pm. ET on Fox.
Here are the 15 members who have been elected (* indicates that the person has died):
Bill Cowher – 1992-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers
Jimmy Johnson – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins
* Steve Sabol, director / president – 1964-2012 NFL Films
Paul Tagliabue, commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
* George Young, associate / general manager – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
Harold Carmichael, wide receiver – 1971-1983 Philadelphia Eagles, 1984 Dallas Cowboys
Jim Covert, offensive gear – Chicago Bears 1983-1990
* Bobby Dillon, security – Green Bay Packers 1952-59
Cliff Harris, security – Dallas Cowboy from 1970-79
* Winston Hill, offensive gear – New York Jets 1963-1976, 1977 Los Angeles Rams
* Alex Karras, defensive gear – 1958-1962, 1964-1970 Detroit Lions
Donnie Shell, security – 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
* Duke Slater, offensive gear – Milwaukee Badgers 1922, 1922-25 Rock Island Independents, Chicago Cardinals 1926-1931
* Mac Speedie, late – 1946-1952 Cleveland Browns (AAFC / NFL)
* Ed Sprinkle, defender / linebacker – Chicago Bears 1944-1955