IRVING, Texas – Once again, Charles Haley’s been left out of the latest Hall of Fame class.
This marked the fifth year Haley, who’s the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings, was a Hall of Fame finalist without getting in. Michael Strahan, Andre Reed, Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Aeneas Williams, Claude Humphrey and Ray Guy all were named into the Class of 2014.
Haley ranks 12th in Cowboys history with 34 sacks and had 100.5 for his career. He would have been the 13th former Cowboys player who accrued at least five years with the team to be named to the Hall of Fame.
Haley, who was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career, joined the Cowboys in 1992 in a trade from San Francisco. Many believe Haley was the difference-maker on defense to put the team over the hump. Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were already in place and leading a high-octane offense, but it was Haley’s presence that added a needed piece.
The converted defensive end had six sacks in his first season but played a big role in the Cowboys having the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL in 1992. In Super Bowl XXVII, Haley made a game-changing play when he sacked Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and forced a fumble, which was recovered in midair by Jimmie Jones for a touchdown. The Cowboys eventually pulled away for a convincing 52-17 win.
Haley had four sacks in 1993 but his most memorable moment came after a Week 2 loss to Buffalo, which dropped the Cowboys to 0-2. Haley emphatically slammed his helmet through a locker room wall at Texas Stadium and voiced his anger in the Cowboys’ not having signed Emmitt Smith, who was two games into a contract dispute with Jerry Jones and the organization. Haley’s comment, “We can’t win with a rookie,” in reference to Smith’s backup Derrick Lassic, might have been the final straw as the Cowboys and Smith came to terms the next week. Smith went on to have an MVP season and the Cowboys won another Super Bowl.
The Cowboys went back to the No. 1 defense in 1994 and Haley had his first double-digit sack season with the club with 12.5, including four in the season opener in Pittsburgh.
Haley had 10.5 sacks in 1995, battling through a bad back all season. He had a sack against the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, which helped him earn his league-best fifth Super Bowl ring.
In three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, Haley had 2.5 sacks and he had 4.5 sacks in his five Super Bowl games played
RELATED: Charles Haley won’t be included in NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2014
NEW YORK – Charles Haley’s wait continues.
The fifth time was not the charm for the former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, who again was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey form the Class of 2014, announced Saturday night. Brooks and Jones earned enshrinement as first-year eligible candidates, and Strahan made it after missing last year in his first year of eligibility.
Williams and Reed have waited longer, with Reed in his ninth year of eligibility and Williams in his fifth. Guy, the first punter to earn induction and only the second true specialist, and Humphrey were seniors nominees.
The seven-man class will be enshrined in Canton this summer.
The 46 selectors met for a record 8 hours, 59 minutes, with Haley’s discussion taking 25 minutes. Discussion on Tony Dungy lasted 47 minutes, the longest of the day, with Brooks taking only 10 minutes.
Haley made the cut to 10, but he, Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison and Will Shields were eliminated in the reduction to five. Morten Andersen, Tim Brown, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Tony Dungy and John Lynch were eliminated from consideration in the first reduction ballot from 15 to 10.
Haley, whose final retirement came following the 1999 season, has been eligible for enshrinement for 10 years. In that time, he has watched seven teammates inducted into the Hall of Fame.
It had seemed this might be Haley’s year.
He remains the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning two with the San Francisco 49ers and three with the Cowboys.
Haley’s teams went 153-66, including 19-6 in the postseason. Only once in 12 regular seasons did his team have a losing record. That was in 1999 after he had retired and then unretired.
His teams won 10 division titles, and he played in seven NFC Championship Games. His teams missed the playoffs only twice.