TAMPA, Fla. — How did Drew Pearson gain the information that he was finally, after all these years, chosen for induction into the Professional Football Hall of Fame?
Pearson purchased pranked.
And wouldn’t you understand it, Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones and Pearson’s aged quarterback, Roger Staubach, were in on the ruse.
The phone call came now no longer long after the Hall of Fame’s option committee voted on Jan. 19 to crown Pearson and seven others — Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson, John Lynch, Alan Faneca, Tom Flores and the late Invoice Nunn — with football’s very top honor. A Cowboys official maintained that Jones wanted to meet with Pearson and Staubach to discuss a potential real estate deal.
That grand wasn’t exactly a stretch. Staubach became one of probably the most prominent real estate developers in Dallas after ending his Hall of Fame career and collaborated with Jones on a hotel adjacent to the Cowboys headquarters. And Pearson, 70, has proven to be a star entrepreneur in his bear fair in his post-football existence. With that, he never suspected that the “assembly” had anything to enact with the Hall of Fame.
He met Staubach at the team’s headquarters and engaged in small talk within the lobby before they were directed to a nearby conference room the place Jones awaited. Extra small talk, led by Jones. Then came the knock on the door. It was David Baker, the Hall’s government director, flanked by a camera crew.
At that moment, Pearson knew. And the tears flowed.
“I didn’t know what to hunt information from coming right here,” Pearson informed Baker. “Not this!”
Congratulations, Drew. Right here’s long past due. It’s taken 37 years since his career ended for this final football achievement.
Within the words of sportswriter Gary Myers, who lined the Cowboys for The Dallas Morning Information for the duration of the 1980s, “This was no Hail Mary.”
That’s a nod to Pearson’s signature moment, when he snagged a Cowboys victory in a 1975 NFC divisional playoff game at Minnesota by hauling in a 50-yard heave from Staubach within the final seconds. It was a prayer of a pass, and when asked afterward what he was pondering as he threw the ball, Staubach, a spiritual Catholic, spoke back, “Hail, Mary!”
The grab, miracle catch became Pearson’s M.O. for the duration of his 11 seasons with the Cowboys. The “Original 88,” as Michael Irvin so often places it — Irvin, then Dez Bryant and now emerging star receiver Cee Dee Lamb have followed in wearing No. 88 — retired as the franchise’s all-time leading receiver. He earned first-team All-Decade honors for the 1970s, and played in three Vast Bowls (including a winning effort in XII). The numbers, including his career totals of 489 receptions and 48 receiving scores, pale when compared to the pinball numbers of today’s game.
Think about this: Pearson led the NFL with 870 receiving yards in 1977. This season, Stefon Diggs topped the league with 1,535 yards. In fact, moreover that ’77 season, you’d have to scamper back to Raymond Berry in 1959 to search out a receiving yards leader with fewer than 1,000 yards.
When build in standpoint, although, Pearson’s numbers were true adequate as they mirrored his impact on one of the NFL’s premier teams in his era. And hi there, in 1979, the Cowboys were the primary team in NFL historical past with a 1,000-yard rusher (Tony Dorsett) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Pearson and Tony Hill).
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In any match, Pearson’s fable is finest outlined by his heart and determination. He entered the NFL in 1973 as an undrafted free agent from Tulsa, getting a leg up because he connected with Staubach for the duration of the offseason before his rookie training camp. While staying at a motel subsequent to the Cowboys’ aged dump of a headquarters in North Dallas, he purchased wind that the quarterback came later within the day for exercises. He made it his enterprise to be there to catch the passes. And a connection was forged.
Pearson, too, never shied away from going over the heart for demanding catches for the duration of a time when guidelines allowed defensive backs to head-hunt with impunity. Never mind that he was 180 kilos, soaking moist. I’ll never forget the mantra that Pearson, who grew up in South River, Unusual Jersey, purchased from his father: “You may be a small leather, nonetheless you are successfully build together.”
I broke into this profession in 1981, landing my first job writing for The Dallas Cowboys Weekly, the team-owned publication. The door was opened for me by my late first cousin, Larry Bethea, a defensive cease chosen by the Cowboys within the primary round of the 1978 draft, who I followed to Michigan State, then followed to Dallas.
I met Pearson on the day I moved to Dallas, as I sat in Bethea’s car waiting to catch him up after practice. Neatly, Pearson’s car was parked subsequent to Larry’s. We chatted, and subsequent thing I know he’s appealing me to be part of him and Ed “Too Tall” Jones for a Monday Night Football promotion they were web hosting that evening at The Playboy Club.
“And if Larry doesn’t want to advance back, you appropriate advance!” Pearson advised.
Of route, Bethea now no longer finest came. He drove.
It didn’t take long for me to examine the recognize that Pearson, a team captain, commanded in a locker room fat of stars. He was smart, demanding, productive, disciplined, charismatic. And extra. It left such an affect on me, assessing how team chemistry works (or doesn’t) at the ideal stage of competitors.
It was Pearson who also moved me to tears. The finest time I’ve ever cried at a press conference happened in 1984 when Pearson announced his retirement because doctors informed him that he was at danger of bleeding to death on the football self-discipline because of a small gap in his liver.
The harm reduce Pearson’s career quick after 11 seasons, nonetheless he misplaced grand extra after falling asleep at the wheel and crashing into a semi-tractor that was parked along the shoulder of I-635. He misplaced his younger brother, Carey, who was using within the passenger seat.
As Pearson recovered from the accident, he had a frequent customer to the hospital: Tom Landry. The late Cowboys coach had a successfully-earned reputation for being distant along with his players. Nonetheless it tells you something about Pearson that Landry showed up at the hospital, over and over again.
The Hall of Fame option is healthier late than never. As has been the case with many deserving candidates before him — and many extra to advance back — the wait had to be excruciating for Pearson. Nonetheless it’s official now as another grab catch. Pearson, a small leather who is successfully build together, will be immortalized in his rightful place in Canton, Ohio, as a representative of class, resilience and excellence.