Drew Pearson could not hide his disappointment in not being selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Centennial Class on Wednesday, but the Dallas Cowboys great remains hopeful his time will come.
"It'll stick with me until later today and after all these texts and internet stuff stops coming through, and I'll move on," Pearson said. "This is the story of my life. Nothing has ever come easy. I came in here as undrafted free agent. I had a bone disease as a kid, went to Tulsa, had three losing seasons in four years, three head coaches in four years, on probation three years, not getting drafted, signing for $150, making the team, overcoming the odds with 100 rookies in camp. Then turning that opportunity after making it. I made All-Pro my second year, had over 1,000 yards my second year.
"It's like that Robert Frost poem. I've taken the road less traveled. My career was always about the road less traveled."
Drew Pearson is understandably emotional and frustrated.— Jonah Javad (@JonahJavad) January 15, 2020
The Super Bowl Champ & member of the 1970s All-Decade Team has once again been passed over for the Hall of Fame.#DallasCowboys | @wfaa | #PFHOF20 pic.twitter.com/DjQ9ng5ZM3
Pearson was surrounded by friends and family as the class was announced Wednesday morning, including his wife, two daughters and six grandchildren.
He is now the only member of the 1970s All-Decade team who has not earned enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of the others was his former teammate, safety Cliff Harris, who was selected Wednesday after failing to make it as a finalist in 2004.
Pearson and Harris were texting each other during the morning, wishing each other well.
"I'm totally happy for Cliff," Pearson said. "People ask me what's the hardest I've ever been hit, and it was when Cliff Harris hit me in a Thursday practice when we were getting ready to play the Washington Redskins and I'm laid out on the field in pain."
Pearson finished his career with 489 catches for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. He earned the nickname "Mr. Clutch" for his plays in big games, such as the Hail Mary in the 1975 playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings.
In his 11 seasons, the Cowboys never had a losing record, failed the make the playoffs just once, played in seven NFC Championship Games and three Super Bowls and won one Lombardi trophy.
Several other former Cowboys reacted on Twitter to Pearson missing out.
What they did to Drew Pearson is not Right... Original 88... you deserve to be in the hall of fame no if and buts about it.. I'm sorry how they are doing you man...— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) January 15, 2020
He did not want his displeasure to take away from those selected Wednesday. He felt like this might be his best and last chance to earn induction, but Rick Gosselin, who is a Hall of Fame voter, told him he might have another opportunity.
"If it happens, I'll be so appreciative," said Pearson, who turned 69 on Sunday. "I'll still be the same excited because I think I deserve it and hopefully one day it happens. If I doesn't, I can't just wait around for that. I can't sit and hope anymore.
"... If you can't get in on your merits as an All-Decade player of the '70s and watch others who did make it that weren't All-Decade players, I'm not discounting them. All I'm saying is if they are, then I am too. That's what's frustrating. I respect the process, but I was disappointed with the way this played out."