Former Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson was surrounded by family and friends when he realized he had been passed over for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Centennial Class on Wednesday.
A video showed Pearson upset and understandably frustrated when he found out he was not a part of the group that was going to be enshrined to the Hall of Fame this summer.
“They broke my heart,” Pearson says in the clip.
The former Cowboys receiver is the lone member of the 1970s All-Decade team who is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He later told ESPN that he’s not giving up hope about one day making it to Canton, Ohio.
“It'll stick with me until later today and after all these texts and internet stuff stops coming through, and I'll move on,” he said. “This is the story of my life. Nothing has ever come easy. I came in here as [an] undrafted free agent. I had a bone disease as a kid, went to Tulsa, had three losing seasons in four years, three head coaches in four years, on probation three years, not getting drafted, signing for $150, making the team, overcoming the odds with 100 rookies in camp. Then turning that opportunity after making it. I made All-Pro my second year, had over 1,000 yards my second year."
“It's like that Robert Frost poem. I've taken the road less traveled. My career was always about the road less traveled," Pearson said.
Pearson said he was happy for the guys who did get in and didn’t want his frustrations to take away from their day. His former teammate and safety Cliff Harris, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; offensive linemen Jim Covert, Winston Hill and Duke Slater; wide receiver Harold Carmichael, defensive ends Ed Sprinkle and Mac Speedie, defensive backs Bobby Dillon and Donnie Shell, defensive tackle Alex Karras and former general manager George Young were named to the Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class.
“If it happens, I'll be so appreciative,” Pearson said. “I'll still be the same excited because I think I deserve it and hopefully one day it happens. If it doesn't, I can't just wait around for that. I can't sit and hope anymore.
“If you can't get in on your merits as an All-Decade player of the '70s and watch others who did make it that weren't All-Decade players, I'm not discounting them," he added. "All I'm saying is if they are, then I am too. That's what's frustrating. I respect the process, but I was disappointed with the way this played out.”
Pearson spent his entire career, from 1973 to 1983, with the Cowboys. He had 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Pro receiver and won one Super Bowl.