DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Cowboys legend Drew Pearson was selected Tuesday as the Senior Finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.
The former wide receiver was picked by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Committee during a virtual meeting, profootballhof.com reported.
An undrafted free agent, Pearson played his entire 11-year career with the Cowboys, accumulating 489 receptions for 7,822 yards (16.0 per-catch average) and 48 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1970s. He played in 22 playoff games, making 68 catches and scoring eight touchdowns. The 1977 Cowboys won Super Bowl XII with Pearson leading the NFL in receiving yards (870) that season.
“Thank you for the call. You made my day, and you made my life,” an emotional Pearson said near the end of a call from Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker telling him the news.
“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.”
“It was so devastating and frustrating because it was the first time I had ever been a finalist,” he told CBS 11 a week later.
The Senior Committee, comprised of nine members of the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, considers players whose careers ended at least 25 years ago. The eligible 2021 Senior Nominees initially were reduced to a list of 12 candidates. Then five of the nine members (determined on a rotating basis) met to discuss each of the candidates and select the finalist.
To be elected to the Hall of Fame, Pearson must receive 80 percent voting support by the entire 48-member Selection Committee on “Selection Saturday.”
The Hall’s Selection Committee, at its annual meeting to be held Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 in Tampa, Florida., will consider 18 finalists: a Senior (Pearson), a Coach (Tom Flores, also named Tuesday), a Contributor (to be named Tuesday, Aug. 25) and 15 Modern-Era Finalists (to be determined from a preliminary list announced Sept. 16; trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January).
Current bylaws call for a class no smaller than four nor larger than eight. Pearson will be voted on for election independent of the other finalists.
“I know there is one more hurdle to get over, but this is the closest I’ve been,” Pearson said. “This is a dream come true.”
The Class of 2021 will be formally enshrined on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in Canton.