Dallas Cowboys: Pro Football Hall of Fame

CANTON, Ohio -- Larry Allen's speech lasted 16 minutes. Not sure anyone thought it would go more than 10 since he's a man of so few words.

Here are some highlights:

About being a man of few words: "During my career, I didn't talk that much, but I didn't have to. I used my helmet."

About his wife Janelle: "On our first date, she cooked for me. She cooked me two chickens, french fries, baked me a cake and gave me a 40 ounce. I knew then, that was my wife."

About his son, Larry III: "Very polite. But once he gets on that field, he's a beast just like his daddy."

About his grandmother: "When I was 14, she sat me down and said, 'Larry, you need to find out what you're good and go do it.' I think I did that, Granny."

About bench pressing 700 pounds: "I got in that weight room and became the strongest man in the NFL. I did it naturally. What's funny is once I benched 700 pounds, they tested me two times a week for the rest of my career."

About his career: "My goal was simple: to earn a seven-letter word called 'respect.' The respect of my teammates, opponents and the NFL. Today, my mission is complete."

Charles Haley misses the cut again

February, 2, 2013
What more does Charles Haley have to do?

The man has won five Super Bowl titles, three with the Dallas Cowboys and two with the San Francisco 49ers. When he left the 49ers for the Cowboys, it changed the power structure of the NFC.

Somehow, Haley wasn't elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Instead, two other men with Cowboys' ties, Larry Allen and Bill Parcells, will get to make a speech in Canton, Ohio.

What about Haley?

He finished his career with 100.5 career sacks, was a five-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro twice. A dominant force.

Haley has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame four times, including this year, but has never garnered enough votes to get in.

Maybe it's just hard for pass-rushers. Michael Strahan, a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro with 141.5 sacks, was a finalist in his first year of eligibility but didn't get the call, either.

"To see a Charles Haley and a Michael Strahan not make it tells you the strength of this class," said Rick Gosselin, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, who is a Hall of Fame voter, on NFL Network. "We left behind five people that could be next year's Hall of Fame class. That's how tough this process is."

We believe at some point Haley will get voted in. His off-the-field issues probably stain his name with some voters, but there's no question his impact on the game.

"When you have guys at the same position, this is the way I feel, Michael Strahan and Charles Haley, both deserved to go into the Hall of Fame," said Jim Trotter, another Hall of Fame voter who writes for Sports Illustrated. "So when I look at that, what I say to myself is how do I separate them if I believe they're both Hall of Fame players? In my mind, what I do, whether your believe it's fair or not, I say what's the pecking order? Who's been waiting the longest. In my mind, I voted Charles Haley first simply because he's been waiting so long, and that does not mean I don't believe Michael Strahan is a Hall of Famer, because I do. You have to have some sort of something to try and separate and figure out this process."

Larry Allen among Hall of Fame finalists

January, 11, 2013
Former Dallas Cowboys guard Larry Allen is among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which was announced on Friday morning.

Joining Allen were three other first-year eligible nominees in Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan.

The selection committee will make its final choices for the Hall of Fame on Feb. 2 in New Orleans.

Allen isn't alone among former Cowboys' players eligible for the Hall of Fame. Pass-rusher Charles Haley, in his ninth year of eligibility, has also been named a finalist. Former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is a finalists as well.

The other finalists are: Jerome Bettis, Dallas native Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Edward DeBartolo Jr., Kevin Greene, Art Modell, Andre Reed, Will Shields and Aeneas Williams.

Along with the 15 modern-era finalists are two senior nominees in former Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers defensive tackle Curley Culp and former Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins linebacker Dave Robinson.
IRVING, Texas -- Former Dallas Cowboys guard Larry Allen is among six first-year eligible candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 it was announced on Friday.

Joining Allen, who played for the Cowboys from 1994-to-2005, among the first-year eligible candidates are kicker Morten Andersen, safety John Lynch, tackle Jonathan Ogden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and defensive end Michael Strahan.

There were also 27 semifinalists named including former Cowboys pass rusher Charles Haley. Haley has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for eight years and named a finalist three times. He played with Dallas from 1992-to-1996.

Former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is also a semifinalist for the second time. Parcells coached New England, New York Jets and Giants and the Cowboys during his career. He coached Dallas from 2003-to-2006.

The 27 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two candidates from the seniors committee.

The results of the modern-era vote to 15 finalists will be announced in January.

Hall of Fame quest continues for Tim Brown

February, 3, 2012
Whatever happens on Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis, wide receiver Tim Brown has a plane to catch at 8 p.m. CT. Whether he'll head home as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has yet to be determined.

Brown, a Dallas native, is a finalist again after 17 NFL seasons with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"You try to keep your life as normal as possible," Brown said.

[+] EnlargeTim Brown
Steve Grayson/Getty ImagesJerry Rice is the only Hall of Fame receiver with better numbers than Woodrow Wilson product Tim Brown (above).
Brown has the numbers you want to see for a potential Hall of Famer. He's fourth all-time in receiving yards (14,934), fifth in receptions (1,094), fifth in all-purpose yards (19,679) and fifth in punt return yards (3,320). Brown is also tied for sixth in touchdown receptions with 100.

Brown was a nine-time Pro Bowler and played for the Raiders, one of the NFL's premier franchises.

It might not be enough.

Cris Carter and Andre Reed, two excellent receivers who also have fantastic numbers, are also finalists. The trio almost cancel each other out.

"Do we deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? If it's yes, then these men and women [the voters] have to get together and put them in," Brown said. "It has to get done. Just to say, 'You guys cancel each other out' is an easy way out of the deal."

Brown isn't being emotional when he talks about his quest for the Hall. The process frustrates him, and he doesn't like what it's done to family members, who get excited about him being a finalist and then get upset when he doesn't get elected.

In 2010, Brown was driving to a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., convention center thinking he was going to get elected and had to turn around when his name wasn't called.

"That was the worst drive of my life," Brown said.

Last year, Brown was home in Dallas watching the televised selection show alone.

"I thought I was going to get in," he said. "I didn't even make Top 10. It was deflating."

Brown said his 70-year-old mother drooped her shoulders when he didn't get in.

"It's not supposed to be this way," he said. "When you tell the loved ones [you don't get in] and they put their heads down."

He will be in Indy on Saturday, but with a different mindset.

He's headed to Maui for a charity event with the Children's Miracle Network, regardless if his name is called or not.

"You almost have to minimize the efforts of the Hall of Fame," Brown said. "Your emotions are going to get carried away."

Hall of Fame debate: Charles Haley

July, 18, 2011

First Take's Skip Bayless and Dan Graziano debate if former Cowboys defensive standout Charles Haley belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No Jerry Jones for Deion Sanders

July, 11, 2011
Deion Sanders does things his own way.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Sanders will have agent Eugene Parker introduce him at his enshrinement ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.

One would think Jerry Jones, the Cowboys owner who is also one of the more recognizable men in sports, would get the honor. Jones introduced Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin at their enshrinement. Those two men have close relationships with Jones.

Sanders is tight with Jones too, but he's closer with Parker, the man who helped him sign, at that time, the highest signing bonus in Cowboys history -- $13 million in 1995. Sanders' deal was for five years and worth $25 million. His signing bonus was higher than Troy Aikman's $7 million.

And Sanders isn't the first agent to present a player at the Hall of Fame. Michael Haynes -- whom Sanders admires -- Warren Moon and Marshall Faulk are the others. Faulk joins Sanders in this year's class.

Several players have a bond with their agents, whether you think it's forced or not. The agents are the ones some players talk to almost every day. Players take their financial advice from agents and trust them. It was hard for Cowboys wide receiver Sam Hurd to believe his agent, Ian Greengross, was in trouble with the player's union for questionable conduct.

When you think about the free-agent signings Jones has made over the years, Sanders is probably the best.

"I'd be hard-pressed to see one that was more impactful than he was," Jones said. "I'd sure have to put him in the top two or three."

Sanders thanks Parker for that, more than anybody else.

It was interesting to note when Sanders was selected for the Hall of Fame back in February, Jones wasn't there. The event happened in downtown Dallas and not one Cowboys official was in attendance.

Smith and Irvin were there to support Sanders.

This is not to say there's a rift between Sanders and the Cowboys. He's welcomed at Valley Ranch all the time and still comes up there to hang if he's not busy with his work on NFL Network and Prime U.

Sanders picking Parker over Jones isn't controversial. It's Sanders being his own guy.

Dez Bryant says the rehab is going well

March, 3, 2011
Wide receiver Dez Bryant said the rehab of his fractured right ankle is going well.

He is doing some light jogging under a trainers supervision and expect to fully go in about a month. In case of a lockout, Bryant will move his rehab work from Dallas to Louisiana.

"Not running full speed, jogging a little bit on a treadmill and just taking this process slow," Bryant told reporters on Wednesday. "I give it another month."

Bryant said he's inspired by former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin, who suffered a torn ACL in 1989. The rehab process for Irvin cost him to miss the first four games of the 1990 season but he was recovered.

“My rehab is fine,” Bryant said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about how Michael Irvin came off his ACL [in 1989] and how he was so ready to get back out there. I kinda feel the same way, that’s where my mindset is. His story motivates me so much of getting back out there [it] just makes me want to work hard and that’s what I’m doing each and every day.”

What's also encouraging is the bond Bryant is building with new strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik, who returned to the Cowboys this year after spending the last few years in New England. It was Woicik who was part of the rehab process for Irvin, so that gives him some insight regarding coming back from an injury that helps Bryant.

"I felt like the day that I met him and the conversation that we had, I felt like we clicked right then and there," Bryant said. "I love working with him and I feel like he really wants to me to get better and he’s helping me with my rehab and we’re going strong every day."

What will Deion's bust look like?

February, 5, 2011
Now comes the hard part for Deion Sanders.

Deion Sanders
Allen Steele/AllsportWill the Hall immortalize the 'do of a younger Deion Sanders?
Over the next couple of days he will speak with Hall of Fame officials about a variety of topics. The main one concerns his Hall of Fame bust.

Sanders had many different hair styles, from the Jheri Curl to his current look -- bald.

"In terms of getting your bust and making sure you have it the way that you want it," said Emmitt Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, "you have to spend time with the guys. He has to figure out whether he wants to go in with a bald head or if he wants to go in with a curl. Either way it goes, he's going in."

Deion skips reporters to coach football

February, 5, 2011
When the Hall of Fame voting was going on, Deion Sanders was coaching one of his youth football teams, The Truth, against a team coached by rap star Snoop Dogg.

It was a day-long event that Sanders didn't want to leave.

But when he got the call from the Hall of Fame committee he had to leave one of the games and drive to a Dallas hotel to talk with NFL Network, who he works for.

After the announcement show was over, other inductees spoke with reporters who were present.

Sanders did not.

He spoke with one reporter in the green room then jogged out of the hotel to get back to his youth football game as reporters chased him down.

There is a reason why Sanders felt compelled to return for the rest of the games.

"Deion is a pretty private guy," former teammate Michael Irvin said. "I've always said that most of us can bring forth great promise out of our great pain. Deion didn't have a father. His father wasn’t there. He becomes a father for so many not just his [own kids] but for so many. When you ask me the importance of what he does, I'm telling you it's deeper than you know."

Sanders' biological and step father were in and out of his life growing up in Fort Myers, Fla., and that made a deep impact in his life.

"He doesn’t want those kids to go through some of the things he went through with a father not being there," Irvin said. "I tell him all the time, share that. People will understand it more if you share that. So I hope he doesn't mind that I did."

Sanders was joined at the announcement by his wife, mom, son among others.

Falcons owner reacts to Deion Sanders

February, 5, 2011
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank had some comments regarding Deion Sanders' election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Sanders played five seasons with the Falcons and becomes the first player drafted from that franchise to go into the Hall.

"He was an electrifying performer who put fans on the edge of their seats every time he manned his cornerback positoin or dropped back to receive a kickoff or field a punt," Blank said in a statement. "Deion is without question, one of the greatest players in the history of the game."

Sanders holds seven Atlanta Falcons records and is tied for first on two others. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice while he played for Atlanta.

More Blank: "He epitomized excellence on the playing field and was a tremendously gifted athlete who possessed great vision, instincts, and world class speed."

Ronnie Lott not happy over snub

February, 5, 2011
We have heard the stories about why Charles Haley isn't in the Pro Football of Fame, about his treatment of teammates and media. But there was no denying his ability to change games.

"If that has anything to do with the bearing of the stature that has to do with his being associated with making this, what a travesty," said former 49ers teammate and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. "How dare we judge someone because of who they are and not judge them for what they did and what they accomplished? We are not in the game of judging people for their character. We are in the game of judging people for their accomplishments, and his accomplishments are second to none."

Haley won five Super Bowl titles, compiled 100.5 sacks in a 12-year career and was a two-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler.

It's interesting to note that Haley, who was among the 15 modern-era finalist, didn't make the cut to the final 10.

Haley has been eligible for election seven times but as a finalist only twice.

"I'm disappointed," Lott said. "Here's a guy that has five Super Bowls, the most rings. We are all viewed by being champions, and how can a guy with the most championships not be part of the Hall of Fame? It doesn't jive with the average fan, it doesn't jive with the average person. It's not fair. It's just not fair. I'm not taking anything away from those other members, but none of those members have what he has."

Deion Sanders is a Hall of Famer

February, 5, 2011
It shouldn't be a surprise but Deion Sanders, the former Falcon, Cowboy, 49er, Raven and Redskin, was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.

Joining Sanders into the Class of 2011 are Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter, Ed Sabol and Shannon Sharpe.

This is what Sanders told me last week regarding the Hall of Fame: "It's not important, none of that is important. What’s important to me is to fulfill a dream of a little lady by the name of Connie Hicks. When I was 7 years old, I told her I was going to be rich one day. She would never have to work another day in her life, that’s what’s important to me."

Sanders was a eight-time Pro Bowler and was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1994.

"When they wrote about me I looked right [past] them, when they talked about me, I looked right past them when they naysay me looked right past them," he said. "All I saw was a little lady pushing a cart at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Fla., that I was embarrassed of. So I never wanted to see her in that situation working another day in her life, that was it for me. That’s my Hall of Fame, not a collection of men that’s going to tell you thumbs up and thumbs down like they Siskel and Ebert because there’s a lot of great players that’s not in the Hall of Fame. A lot of impactful players that’s not in the Hall of Fame. I'm thankful and elated to be recognized, to be thought of even in that conversation, it’s a wonderful honor, but the valdation of men has never influenced me either way."

Emmitt Smith can't describe experience

August, 7, 2010
CANTON, Ohio -- Emmitt Smith was the only member of the Class of 2010 to shed some tears. And after his more than 30 minute speech was over on Saturday night he said he couldn't describe the entire Hall of Fame experience.

"You can't really put into words truly how to describe the entire experience itself," Smith said to a small group of reporters when his night was over and he was headed to his party. "And even if I did try to describe it you couldn’t feel the true power or the magnitude of it you have to be in it to really, really feel it."

Former teammate Michael Irvin said it best of Smith's speech: "He did great. Emmitt used his mouth to formulate the words. But his heart did the speaking [and] that’s what you want."

Live chat: Hall of Fame induction ceremony

August, 7, 2010
Join ESPN's NFL bloggers and reporters as they cover the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies live today.