FRISCO - “They broke my heart.''
That was the position taken by Drew Pearson a few months ago when, after waiting 30 years for good news from the Pro Football Hall of Fame regarding the induction of Dallas Cowboys icon who was named by the NFL itself one of the handful of best receivers in not one but two decades, was not included in the Class of 2020.
But on Tuesday afternoon, a new position taken.
"You made my day and you made my life,'' responded Pearson upon learning from the HOF that he'll be in as the lone senior nominee in the Class of 2021. “How can I thank you? I’m crying, and I haven’t cried in a long time. Happy tears. I’ve been waiting for this call for so long.”
Actually, it hasn't been that long since Drew cried. Unhappy tears.
It was on January 15 when Pearson learned that somehow, he once again failed to make the cut.
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“We thought we were gonna have a good moment,'' Pearson said to family, friends and media gathered at his Plano home that day. "We deserve that moment. Can’t do nothing about it.''
As a player, Pearson did everything he could, as a centerpiece of a Super Bowl-winning Cowboys team in the 70's - and truly, as a centerpiece of a team that was in Super Bowl contention almost perennially during a career that took the 1973 undrafted free agent out of Tulsa to three Pro Bowls and to first-team All-Pro status three times as well.
Pearson's 11-year career was highlighted by his 50-yard “Hail Mary” catch from Roger Staubach to seal a 1975 playoff victory over the Vikings.
The Centennial Class has recognized coach Jimmy Johnson and Pearson's old teammate Cliff Harris, the standout safety. But for Drew? This expanded class at the time seemed like a final opportunity - an opportunity lost.
And Pearson knew it.
“Can’t catch no more damn passes,'' said a visibly upset Pearson in January. "Can’t run no more routes. It’s there! ... What upsets me more is when they say you don’t deserve it, they (voters) talk negative about you. There’s nothing negative about my career in the NFL. Nothing!”
Nope. Not anymore.