"When you talk about great careers, [when] you talk about the Hall of Fame, like I don't think I just want to make the Hall of Fame. I just want to be known as one of the greatest Hall of Famers," Parsons said. "There's categories to everything. There's good. There's great and there's like, perfect. ... When you talk about me, I don't want to just be mentioned in the Hall of Fame. Yeah, that's a great accolade, but I want to be one of the greatest in the Hall of Fame."
Parsons has been named All-Pro, a Pro Bowler and runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year Award in each of his first two seasons as a linebacker in Dallas.
To him, players such as Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders and Michael Strahan are the elite of the elite when it comes to the Hall of Fame.
"They really just set the tone on what it meant to be, like, great, and how to separate themselves from others," Parsons said. "And they all had their little swag, and when you talk about who had the records, Strahan still has the record for most sacks in a year. Then 'Prime Time,' anytime the ball was in the air, it was his. So everyone's got something about them, and when you talk about the greatest, you think about those guys and how dominant and how a force they were. And Aaron Donald is going to have the same thing."
The Cowboys had two players enter the Hall of Fame on Saturday in DeMarcus Ware, the franchise's all-time leader in sacks, and Chuck Howley, the only player to win Most Valuable Player in a Super Bowl on a losing team.
Ware has mentored Parsons some in his first two years.
"Talk about a guy that set the standard. Twenty-sack seasons, I mean a guy who's just outright dominated in his prime and went out in the right way," Parsons said. "I couldn't be more excited for him. I thought he was a first-ballot guy. A guy that I looked up to. His IQ, bro, anytime you just talk to him about football, when he just came in that one day, I just learned so much. And he just really grabs the room, and man, when you talk about handwork and technical and soundness, that guy is the epitome of that."
Ware had to leave the Cowboys to win a Super Bowl, beating Carolina in Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. Parsons knows championships help burnish legacies and the Cowboys have not gotten past the second round of the playoffs in his first two years.
"There are people that have had great careers, but without that Super Bowl, man ... that Super Bowl carries so much weight," he said. "You talk about championships, why do people say [Michael] Jordan was the greatest? He was 6-0. If LeBron [James] went 10-0 in the Finals, it would be no argument. I think those rings and those moments where your best player steps up, it leads and carries and brings everyone else around you. There's just no better moment in any sport, no matter what it is. Everybody comes for the Finals, everybody comes for the Super Bowl, because that's the most important moment in life."