19 Nov 1995: Defensive end Charles Haley of the Dallas Cowboys in action during the Cowboys 34-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.
If his former teammates have anything to say about it, Charles Haley will be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday along with (almost certainly) Emmitt Smith; whether or not he will actually get the call, however, is a different issue all together.
The debate really boils down to a question nearly as old as the Hall, itself: Should enshrinement be determined solely by football-prowess, or should a player's conduct be taken into consideration as well. Therein (perhaps) lies the trouble for Haley.
There's little doubt that the defensive end was one of the most (if not the most) intimidating players of his era; a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro, he is the only player in history to be a member of five Super Bowl Champions. Haley was also an effusive, often contentious and unpredictable locker room presence, with so-called "off-field issues" to spare. Those who have stood in support of Haley argue that the good far outweighs the bad, particularly as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned.
"I'm really hopeful that, come Saturday evening, we're talking about Charles Haley being the next Cowboy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Troy Aikman, per the Dallas Morning News. "I think it's well-earned and he certainly deserves it, having been a part of five Super Bowl teams. And not only to be a part of it, but being a major reason as to why those teams won."
Aikman's sentiments were echoed by Emmitt Smith.
"It would be a crying shame if he didn't go into the Hall," said Smith. "Your responsibility is to judge a man based on his performance. It has nothing to do with how you feel about him personally. Period. He didn't cheat, he didn't steal. He did his job."