When it comes to Hall of Fame snubs, few have felt the pain of Drew Pearson. So, a longtime injustice appears righted as the Dallas Cowboys legend enters the Hall of Fame this weekend.
But what about guys with better stats and arguably better resumes that are still waiting? Waiting, in many cases, for decades as well.
Gary Clark, a mainstay of some of the most iconic squads in Washington Football Team history, remains on the outside looking in on Canton.
And does anyone outside of the District seem to care?
Clark stacks up not only with the greats to ever play the wide receiver position, but his stats blow away players such as Pearson. Before you start to argue different eras – which is a valid argument – consider the time element between the careers of Pearson and Clark.
Pearson’s 11-year run in the NFL, all in Dallas, ended in 1983. Clark’s professional career began in 1984, albeit in the USFL. The James Madison product joined Washington a year later and also played in the NFL for 11 years before retiring in 1995.
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While passing offenses have evolved over time, it’s fair to compare the numbers of players like Clark with immediate predecessors like Pearson. This is where is gets fun … or frustrating if you’re a Clark fan.
In his 11 NFL years, Clark played in 167 games, caught 699 passes for 10,856 yards and 65 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was in the top five in catches and yards. Throw in a pair of Super Bowl wins (XXII, XXVI), four Pro Bowls (1986, ’87, ‘90, ’91) and three All-Pro seasons (’86, ’87, ’91).
Pearson played in 156 games with 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 50 scores. He won a Super Bowl, made three Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams, and was named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team.
Pearson owns a great resume, for sure, but on balance does it compare with Clark? Not in the least. Somehow, the contributions of this particular member of the “Posse,” with Art Monk and Ricky Sanders, has been lost in the ether.
Maybe Clark has been penalized for playing with Monk, who also retired in 1995 but waited until 2008 for his Hall of Fame induction. During the eight years Clark and Monk played together from 1985-92, Clark actually had more yards (8,742 to 7,372) and touchdowns (58-41) than his Hall of Fame teammate.
Clark is 59 now, and who knows if he’ll ever get the HOF call. But he can always look to Pearson, 70, and feel good about his chances. The numbers should matter.
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