SHAME BY THE FAME: Former Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Haley worthy of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction
NEW YORK — Peyton Manning’s legacy is a recurring theme in the buildup to this Super Bowl. If the quarterback stands victorious Sunday evening, if he helps lead his second franchise to a title …
Well, then he’ll be only three rings behind Charles Haley.
The night before Denver and Seattle take the field, the Hall of Fame will announce its class of 2014. Haley is a finalist for the fifth time.
Two of those rings came as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. The final three came as a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys.
Receiver Michael Irvin and quarterback Troy Aikman played with Haley on those Super Bowl teams. Both have busts in Canton.
They believe it’s time for Haley to join them.
“I think Charles should be in,” Irvin said. “We’re willing to give Peyton Manning credit, so much credit, if he wins this game because we’re going to say he led two different teams to Super Bowl championships. He deserves the credit.
“But we won’t give Charles Haley any of that credit? He led two different teams to Super Bowls, but we won’t give him any kind of credit?”
Haley was part of 10 division championship teams in his 12 years in the NFL. He played in six NFC Championship Games in a span of seven seasons. He was voted to the NFL Pro Bowl five times, was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year twice and finished his career with 100 1/2 sacks.
Credit isn’t the issue. No one can discredit those numbers. What Haley lacks is the historical affirmation only the Hall of Fame can provide.
Irvin is no stranger to off-the-field issues. Those didn’t prevent him from enshrinement in his third year as a finalist.
But Irvin can’t help but wonder if Haley’s well-documented troubles have worked against him in the committee’s discussions. Haley’s abusive behavior during his playing days won few friends in the media.
Aikman has the same questions.
“I don’t like the process,” said the quarterback who joined the Hall in 2006 in his first year of eligibility. “I don’t like the way that it’s done.
“I do believe he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’ve said that. I’m biased because I watched him every weekend. I’m amazed that he’s not in the Hall of Fame.
“I’m sorry, but if him being rude to some writers or not being accommodating to those in the media keeps him from being in the Hall of Fame, then I really disagree with the process, because that’s not what this is about. I don’t know what happens, but I know he was largely responsible for a big amount of the success that we had during those years.”
Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson is curious as to why Haley has yet to be enshrined.
“I’ve said many, many times that Charles Haley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago,” Johnson said. “No offense to any of the players in there, but I coached and coached against a lot of the players that are in the Hall of Fame, and Charles Haley is better than them.
“Again, I don’t know the rhyme or reason by some of the voting.”
Aikman, Irvin and Johnson hope someone is listening to them when it comes to Haley.
“A man that holds as many rings as digits on a hand,” Irvin said, “he should be in the Hall of Fame.”
CANTON, Ohio – Head coach Jason Garrett wasn’t going to let the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive linemen miss the induction of Larry Allen into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Garrett brought all of his team’s offensive linemen, as well as select veterans on the team to watch Allen’s speech as he was inducted a day before the Cowboys are set to play in the Hall of Fame Game.
Left tackle Tyron Smith was just five years old when Allen won his Super Bowl with the Cowboys in January 1996, so needless to say he only watched Allen sparingly growing up. But Smith quickly learned what Allen meant to the team.
“I didn’t learn much about him until I got with the Cowboys,” Smith said. “It’s a great experience to be here, and I definitely didn’t want to miss it.”
The experience was just as great for the young undrafted players and backup offensive linemen in attendance. First-year tackle Edawn Coughman, who’d never been to the Hall of Fame before, said words couldn’t express how he felt to walk through the Hall of Fame and watch Allen get inducted.
“It’s a great honor,” Coughman said. “I watched him a lot when I was younger. I’m excited to see this man in person. I’m elated.”
Jason Garrett wanted to make sure the majority of his veteran starters and the players on the team who knew Allen got to see the induction.
The list of veteran players at the ceremony included Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant,Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Jason Hatcher,DeMarcus Ware, Danny McCray, LP Ladouceur, Will Allen, Barry Church, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr.
CANTON, Ohio – Few people get to see their fathers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Even fewer get to play in a Hall of Fame Game in front of their Hall of Fame father.
Dallas Cowboys receiver Jared Green will take the field in Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, just five years after presenting his father into the Hall of Fame. Green’s dad, Darrell, will be in attendance to watch his son play.
“I’m so excited about tomorrow,” Green said. “Only a number of people in the world can say that. I also get to play for the Dallas Cowboys, and I also get to have my dad, who’s a Hall of Famer, in the stands. He’s here and he’s in the festivities and this is his group. He’s an alumni, so this is special.”
Green’s father actually answered the phone while sitting on stage right before the Hall of Fame ceremony began when Green called to let his dad know the team had made it in.
As his father sat on stage at Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, Green toured the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where he found his father’s bust under the 2008 inductees for the first time.
“This is the craziest weekend of my life,” Green said. “Last time I was here, we were in the parade, we had probably 200 guests here, and I didn’t get the opportunity to come here, plus I was preparing my speech. By the time we had finished up and I was on the stage, all my family had come here and done this, so this is my first time being in here and seeing the bust. It’s crazy.”
Green said it blows him away to see someone in his family, let alone someone as close to him as his father, with a statue sitting in the Hall of Fame surrounded by the legends of the game. He said everybody wants to go to the NFL and be great, but they rarely grow up saying they want to be a Hall of Famer.
“It’s almost like this untouchable kind of a dream,” Green said. “Those guys are like legends you can’t touch, but this is my father, you know? I think that’s just crazy.”
It made the moment and weekend much more special that Green could take in the experience as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
Five years earlier, as he was presenting his father into the Hall of Fame, Green said his dad always encouraged him to be the best at whatever he did. The undrafted receiver’s certainly accomplished that goal, allowing him to look at his father’s statue in the Hall of Fame as an NFL member himself.
“That’s what makes it even more special, that I’m not visiting this room with a bunch of buddies from a school event or something like that,” Green said. “I’m visiting this thing with my brothers, my teammates, and I’m about to play a game that’s dedicated to the same thing that my father’s in this Hall for.”
It was never easy for Green to be the son of a Hall of Fame player when he started playing football. Darrell Green amassed seven Pro Bowl selections and two Super Bowls as a first-round pick, totaling 54 interceptions during his career.
Meanwhile, Jared Green, who bounced from Carolina’s practice squad last year and now to Dallas’ roster this year, hasn’t played in an NFL game. He said he struggled with being referred to as Darrell Green’s son and not Jared Green during his early years in his football career, but he began to accept the circumstances and appreciate them.
“I just said, you know, this is a blessing to be who I am, and my dad has done everything that he’s done, and people are either going to talk about you great because of who your dad is, or they’re going to talk bad about you because of who your dad is,” he said. “But at the end of the day, who really cares? Just have fun. That’s really what my new philosophy is, have fun, enjoy it.”
There’s no doubt Jared Green will enjoy every moment of playing in tomorrow’s game tomorrow as his father watches on.
It’s likely Green will get enough playing time to make his mark in the Cowboys’ first preseason game, which should feature a heavy dose of backup players. He knows what kind of opportunity is in front of him, and his father will be there to root him on, even if the former Redskins defender has to cheer for a Cowboys receiver.
“My family’s just excited because they have another family member to root for,” Jared Green said.
CANTON, Ohio – The Dallas Cowboys had two members of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, including arguably the best guard in NFL history.
First-ballot inductee Larry Allen, who was one of the quietest players in front of the camera throughout his career, shocked everyone with a 16-minute speech that mixed in some emotions and humor to offset his evident nerves.
Bill Parcells went for nearly 25 minutes, the longest of the seven speeches.
Both Allen and Parcells were well represented by former Cowboys colleagues. A few former Cowboys linemen who played with Allen made an appearance, including Solomon Page, Tyson Walter, Kelvin Garmon and Nate Newton. Other Allen teammates included Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, La’Roi Glover and Jay Novacek, along with Hall of Fame members Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin.
Here are some quotes from various former and current members of the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night’s inductees:
Nate Newton on Larry Allen:
Man, Larry was great. He did what he needed to do. He was super. I really loved it. He opened it up with a joke. He closed it out with seriousness. He handled it, man. It was great. I loved it – that 40 ounce was cold-blooded.
I was nervous for him. The bet was, how long he was going to go. I had nine minutes. He did a good job. That was always the Larry that we knew. He was quiet, short on words, but he got his point across. When we had some private moments with just he and I, he talked more. But he wasn’t that boisterous guy but you knew he would do his job. I’m so proud of him. I’ve always said he was the best football player I’ve ever played.
Darren Woodson on Bill Parcells:
I tell everyone that ever listens, in my one year with Bill, I learned more from Bill in that season than I had in all of my career. When he came in, it totally changed the way I looked at the game. I tell him all the time and every time I see him, he showed me how to study film and what to be looking for. In my opinion, he was the best coach I ever played for.
We were wondering if it would be 30 seconds? A minute? 90 seconds? I was getting texts from teammates all day about it. But he was tremendous. I think he captured what made him great. He is such a prideful person. That was the biggest contributing factor to how good a player he was.
I knew he had a lot of people to thank. I think he did a great job. I’m proud of him. I’m very happy for him. He was a funny guy. He was just a great guy. We battled every Wednesday and Thursday during the week. Then on game day it was easy because we practiced each other so hard.
Jason Witten on Bill Parcells
It was a special feeling. Obviously coming into the league under a guy like him, you learn so much. He was a legendary coach before he got to Dallas, but he had a huge impact on a lot of us. I think I’m the player I am today because of the impact he had. It was neat to see him at this moment.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on Larry Allen:
What I love is that everybody got to see what Larry Allen was all about. That’s probably more than he said in 12 years with the Cowboys. It was amazing.”
NFL LIVING LEGEND: Dallas Cowboys lineman Larry Allen inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (Special Feature)
Larry Allen chases down an interception (watch Video | listen to Audio)
“This guy’s got a rocket booster strapped to his back!”, proclaimed Dan Dierdorf (puke) as 325 lb. Larry Allen chased down a Troy Aikman tipped interception during his rookie year.
Larry Allen bench presses 700 lbs. (watch Video | listen to Audio)
Watch as Dallas Cowboys guard Larry Allen works his way up to a 700 lb. bench press during the spring of 2001.
Dallas Cowboys legends speak about what made Larry Allen so great, as he is announced as a member of 2013’s NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
SPAGNOLA: In the beginning of this remarkable L.A. story
OXNARD, Calif. – Here is exactly what we know about Larry Allen.
He will become the 14th true Dallas Cowboys member inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio, and just the second offensive lineman in the expansion franchise’s 53-year history.
While playing for the Cowboys from 1994-2005, he was named to the Pro Bowl 10 times (seven consecutively), one short of the team’s all-time record of 11 held by Bob Lilly, a Hall of Famer himself, and as many as Hall of Famer Mel Renfro but more than the likes of Hall of Famers Randy White, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Tony Dorsett.
Twice he was named to the NFL All-Decade Team, in the 1990s and the 2000s, quite a feat to have played so long at such a high level during his 12 years with the Cowboys and final two seasons with San Francisco, which included his 11th Pro Bowl selection.
He was a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ 1995 Super Bowl championship team and played in consecutive NFC title games his first two seasons in the NFL.
He had the speed to once run down a New Orleans linebacker from way behind who certainly thought he was taking his interception to the house, and yet strong enough to bench press 700 pounds one day at The Ranch.
Allen, along with Charles Haley and Drew Pearson, were the last inductees to the Dallas Cowboys’ 20-member Ring of Honor.
Whew, that’s a ton, appropriately so since he was a ton for opponents to handle during his career.
But for the rest of the story, or maybe it’s the first of the story, we have to know how in the world a guy who went to Butte Junior College in Oroville, Calif., and then to Sonoma State, a Division II school, winds up getting drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, who at the time were the two-time defending Super Bowl champs.
You will discover a lot of luck and tireless research by many were involved.
Current director of scouting Tom Ciskowski first turned the Cowboys on to this massive offensive lineman. At the time, the Cowboys were members of BLESTO, the national scouting combine service teams used around the league which had written a report on this Allen guy.
“I was the West Coast scout,” Ciskowski said of his role back then with the Cowboys, “so was responsible for all the schools in that area.”
Even tiny Sonoma State, north of San Francisco, past Petaluma, and east of the 101 that runs right through the current Cowboys training camp site. Yet, it’s hard to evaluate players like Allen because of the level of competition he’d been playing against. You just don’t know if he’s throwing guys around because they are two levels below Division I.
Ciskowski made his dutiful school call, and the coach set up a meeting with Allen. “He was fighting for him,” Ciskowski said, a scouting term for endorsing. Then once he had the meeting and put the tape on, he gained enough confidence to recommend Allen to the Cowboys’ higher-ups because “you could see he had something.”
The Cowboys, and many other teams, could see Allen had something, too, when he was invited to play in the East-West Shrine All-Star Game.
“Sure you are concerned,” Ciskowski said of evaluating his play against other D-II schools, “until you saw him against the Penn States, Ohio States, Michigan States in that game.”
That is where then scouting director Larry Lacewell first got a glimpse of this guy going like 6-4, 330 pounds, who was strong as a bull.
“Frankly, looking at a guy from Sonoma State is not real exciting,” Lacewell says, “until you saw him practicing against Division-I guys.
Lacewell, still around at training camp these days, remembers seeing Allen in a pass-rush drill, the first guy trying to rush around him.
“He punched him,” said Lacewell, meaning reaching out and pass blocking with two hands to strike the guy in the chest, “and you could hear ka-baam.”
Then in a full-speed team drill Allen drilled a linebacker, “and I saw him rolling on the ground,” Lacewell said. “Just stuck him. I just remember how strong he was.”
That convinced the Cowboys to push him up the draft board. Ciskowski, Lacewell and offensive line coach Hudson Houck saw what they thought could be, because as Lacewell said after watching film of Allen playing at Sonoma State, “It was unfair,” L.A. against those D-II opponents.
Even at that, there still was another hurdle to overcome. Somewhat of a defective shoulder was discovered at the NFL Combine, or as Cowboys trainer Jim Maurer, then an assistant to then Cowboys trainer Kevin O’Neill, remembers, a rotator cuff problem. As the story goes, there was another problem: Allen was so wide across the chest he couldn’t fit into the MRI chamber, so whatever doctors were worried about couldn’t be confirmed by an imaging picture.
Also there was this: Scar tissue from multiple stab wounds in the shoulder sustained during his formative years growing up in Compton, Calif.
“It was a pretty significant issue as I remember,” Maurer says of the shoulder, “a lot of questions about it.”
Bryan Broaddus, then working in the Green Bay scouting department, remembers Allen, and remembers the Packers were so worried about the shoulder that he was taken off their draft board for medical reasons.
But O’Neill didn’t take the easy way out he could have when the Cowboys front office came to him for an opinion. You know, cautiously downgrade Allen just to cover himself if the shoulder curtailed Allen’s career.
Ciskowski remembers O’Neill saying “the shoulder could be rehabbed” instead of needing surgical repair.
So the Cowboys had Allen on the on board, so on board Lacewell says that they had a first-round grade on the man-kid from Sonoma State. But on draft day, Allen began falling, falling, falling. Look, guys like Heath Shuler, Trent Dilfer, Shante Carver (Cowboys), Eric Mahlum, Kevin Lee, Bruce Walker, Marcus Spears (seriously, an OT) and David Palmer already had been drafted in the first and early part of the second. But Allen? Still was on the board.
“So we’re sitting there, and you know you hear rumors, you heard about the shoulder problems,” Lacewell said, “and we’re asking ourselves, ‘What are we missing?’”
So Lacewell, Ciskowski and Houck went into the room next to the Cowboys war room with the draft in progress and Allen falling out of the first round and into the second. They put the film of Allen on one more time “to make sure we were seeing the right thing,” Lacewell says. “Maybe we were wrong, and you just don’t do that or have the time (during the draft).
“But Hud, Tom and I, particularly Tom – I give him all the credit in the world, because it’s easy to waffle or lose your guts on a guy from Sonoma State – we were confident he was the guy. No doubt we were holding our breath (when he was falling) until he got to us.”
And with the 17th pick in the second round, 46th overall, the Dallas Cowboys select offensive guard Larry Allen, Sonoma State.
Who? What? From where? Thought they produced wine out there in Sonoma not football players?
Oh, and there was one more flashback for Lacewell. When time came for the rookie Allen to take his conditioning test, Lacewell says, “He was pitiful. He couldn’t finish anything.”
But brother, could he finish a block, and as the stories go, finish a guy’s career, too, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones remembering how one opponent lambasted by Allen retiring from football the very next day and how several opponents would develop what became known as the “Allen flu,” turning up sick/hurt the day they would have to take on the Cowboys offensive lineman.
And Saturday, Larry Allen, the man of few words, from tiny Sonoma State will officially finish his NFL career with a bronzed bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preceded by potentially the shortest acceptance speech in the history of the Hall’s enshrinement ceremony. But that’s OK. They don’t judge these guys on words, just production.
“Over my years I like to name the few really great ones,” said Lacewell, who’s been around a whole lot of great ones, first starting his coaching career under Bear Bryant at Alabama and having then coached at Oklahoma, Iowa State, Arkansas State (head coach for 11 years) and Tennessee before spending 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (1992-2004) in their college and pro scouting departments.
“And Larry Allen is the very best offensive guard I’ve ever seen, phenomenal. I’ve known Cortez Kennedy for quite some time. Recruited him. Cortez Kennedy told me once when Larry would hit you, he said, ‘It felt like a boulder had.’ I remember a linebacker once trying to run from him, he’d punch the guy and the linebacker started rolling on the ground.”
Imagine that. Imagine all of this.
And then you have the rest of this L.A. story.
EVE OF THE ENSHRINEMENT: Gil Brandt’s 50 memories for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary
Gil Brandt has watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame grow with the game since it opened in 1963 — and he had an up-close-and-personal view in his capacity as a key member of the Dallas Cowboys’ front office. In honor of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, Gil offers 50 thoughts and memories about the Hall that he’s accumulated over the decades as a football lifer.
STANDOUT HALL OF FAMERS
1) The Hall of Fame is full of guys with great backgrounds, but one of my favorite personal stories belongs to Rayfield Wright (Class of 2006), who was, of course, a key cog on the Dallas Cowboys when I was with the team. At his enshrinement, he told the story of how he was ready to quit football before his Fort Valley State coach kind of turned him around, getting him to play safety and tight end — and then he ended up getting into the hall as an offensive lineman. Fittingly, he had his college coach introduce him at the Hall.
2) One of the first players I saw who I knew was going to get into the Hall someday was Forrest Gregg, the longtime Green Bay Packers offensive lineman who spent a season with the Cowboys at the end of his career. I saw him at SMU and then as a rookie. He probably played the offensive tackle position as well as anyone, period — as good as Johnny Unitas was at quarterback. Obviously, offensive tackles don’t get the attention quarterbacks get, but I thought Gregg was probably the best.
3) If I had to pick the best class, I’d have to say it was the first class, from 1963, just because of all the people in it: guys like Sammy Baugh, George Halas, Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe.
4) I also liked the Class of 1994, because it included two Cowboys, Tony Dorsett and Randy White, plus a third guy, Jackie Smith, who ended his career in Dallas. I liked that class a lot.
5) The Class of 2000 had really good players: Howie Long, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and Dave Wilcox, plus Dan Rooney. Wilcox was one of those guys who fought for success the hard way after starting out at Boise Junior College.
6) Roger Staubach is one of the Hall of Famers who wowed me the most on the field, though of course he had plenty of chances to do so, given how much time I spent watching him. I also thought Deacon Jones and Ray Nitschke were special.
7) When it comes to the guys we can see on old film, one of the most impressive Hall of Famers is Arnie Weinmeister, who played defensive tackle for the New York and Brooklyn Yankees football teams in the 1940s before joining the New York Giants in the ’50s. He was just the toughest guy.
8) The best quarterback in the Hall is Roger Staubach. First of all, he came back to the game after being in the armed forces for five years, which is something, because historically, guys never came back from breaks like that without losing a step or two. Staubach was the catalyst for the Cowboys; he was a great leader, both on and off the field — even the guys on the other teams respected him greatly.
9) One of the best non-quarterbacks in the Hall has to be Eric Dickerson. He was a dominant guy; he was Adrian Peterson during a time when it was much harder to be Adrian Peterson, because we didn’t have things like motion or do things like split people out.
10) Also, of course, there was Jim Brown. What Jim Brown did was unbelievable, especially when you consider that offensive linemen had to block with their shoulders at the time.
11) Other standouts: Merlin Olsen, a 14-time Pro Bowler who was simply a dominant factor for his team, and Bob Lilly, who was light years ahead of his time. Lilly was bigger, faster and quicker than anybody you’ll ever see.
12) The most impactful coach/contributor in the Hall is George Halas. He helped form the league and run the league, and he dictated policy. Plus, he was a great coach for the Chicago Bears.
13) Ray Nitschke was one of the more influential players in the Hall in terms of being the leader at the luncheon on enshrinement weekend. I think it was his idea to have the luncheon on Friday. Deacon Jones took over that role from Nitschke. It will be interesting to see who takes up the mantle this year, now that Jones is gone.
14) Of course, I like to think that I have about 85 good friends in the Hall (because I think I know just about every guy in there), but one of my best friends is probably Green Bay Packers fullback Jim Taylor. I’ve known him a long time. You know, when you’ve competed against somebody and he’s beaten you twice for the right to go to the Super Bowl, he tends to stick out in your mind.
Next week, NFL staffers will be heading to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game. In future years, it’s possible it won’t be the only Hall of Fame Game of the season.
The NFL is considering naming a big, regular-season contest “The Hall of Fame Game” in an effort to increase interest in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It sounds like the game would take place in the normal home city, but there might be events and promotions around the game related to the Hall. The game might be a prime-time affair.
Next week’s matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will bring a lot of fans to Canton for the festivities. Everyone’s mind will be on the Hall of Fame for one week, but the NFL is hoping to extend that interest the rest of the year.
As long as an NFL team doesn’t have to give up a home game, the idea doesn’t appear to have any downside.