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It’s been a long time coming, but Drew Pearson might finally get the one thing he’s been waiting decades for. The legendary former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver has seen his name lifted to the ranks of the team’s coveted Ring of Honor, but still doesn’t have a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Instead, he’s seen himself nominated time and again, followed by subsequent snubs as others were ushered in ahead of him — many having played long after he hung up his cleats and helmet for good. The 69-year-old has been forced to wait so long that he’s no longer considered a “modern era” player by the Hall of Fame committee, but instead a “senior” member, but that might’ve just worked in his favor.

Pearson has officially been named one of only two senior nominees for induction into Canton, the other being former Raiders coach Tom Flores — the Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday — and while voting won’t take place until just before Super Bowl LV, it’s known senior nominees usually get ushered into immortality with no resistance. And given all Pearson has endured emotionally to get to this point, it’s hard to fathom he doesn’t finally find himself home amongst the other gods of the sport. 

Pearson, the receiver of the original “Hail Mary” pass thrown by Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach against the Minnesota Vikings, went on to finish his NFL career having amassed 7,822 receiving yards in his 11 seasons as a Cowboy, and while that may not seem like much by today’s pass-happy standards, it’s key to note Pearson played in an era dominated by running backs. Despite that having been the case, his yardage tally was the most in franchise history at the time, since bested by only Tony Hill, Michael Irvin and Jason Witten.

His 48 career touchdowns are also seventh-most in Cowboys history, and only three shy of being top 5. 

With the induction of former defensive back Cliff Harris this year, Pearson is now the only member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade first team who hasn’t been granted admission to Canton. Given what he meant to the franchise and the game of football itself, no one can blame the Ring of Honor inductee for reacting the way he did when his name again went uncalled. At this point, a whole 32 years after he first qualified for induction, Pearson is tired of hearing “maybe next time”.

It appears he won’t ever have to again.

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