Every year since 2010, Charles Haley has gotten his hopes up as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only to have them dashed when he’s failed to make the final cut.
“It’s kind of up and down with me,” Haley told the NFL Network. “I’m bipolar; when I’m not called, I go into a little bit of depression.”
Haley is again a finalist for Canton consideration, as announced Thursday night. And many see this year as Haley’s best chance yet to break through. The only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings – two with the San Francisco 49ers and three with the Dallas Cowboys – finished his 12-year career with 100.5 sacks in 169 games.
The hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end was a fourth-round pick of the Niners in 1986 out of James Madison and he became a five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro.
His teams played in six NFC Championship Games in a seven-year span. Haley’s teams also won their division 10 times in his 12 seasons.
“I put football before my family,” Haley said. “I put football before my God. I was committed. I sacrificed and I loved the game of football with all my heart.”
Many have thought that Haley’s unpredictable off-the-field behavior has cost Haley a bust and gold jacket. Though unlike the baseball Hall of Fame, where voters are asked to consider character, no such mission is requested of football’s selectors.
“If it takes me passing away and my kid stepping up for me, I’m good with that,” Haley said of gaining induction. “Because I’m going to be looking down from heaven going, ‘Yeah, I could have told you I was worthy.’”