Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson has been selected as the Senior Finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021.
Pearson, who was a finalist in the 2020 class but was snubbed by the selection committee, was named a finalist for next year during a virtual meeting of the Hall of Fame's Senior Committee who consider players whose careers ended at least 25 years before.
This year, Hall of Fame Selectors Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin, Ira Kaufmann, Jeff Legwold and John McClain took part. Hall of Famers Gil Brandt and Dick LeBeau were also consultants for the group.
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Pearson, a frequent target of the legendary Roger Staubach, is widely considered one of the greatest receivers of his era. He is the last member of the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team to not be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame shared the following on Pearson's NFL career:
Pearson, an undrafted free agent, played his entire 11-year career with the Cowboys, accumulating 489 receptions for 7,822 yards (16.0 per-catch average) and 48 touchdowns. Pearson was a three-time All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowl selection, and a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1970s. He played in 22 playoff games, making 68 catches and scoring eight touchdowns. The 1977 Cowboys won Super Bowl XII with Pearson leading the NFL in receiving yards that season.
"Thank you for the call. You made my day, and you made my life," Pearson said near the end of a call from Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker telling him the news. "How can I thank you? I'm crying, and I haven't cried in a long time. Happy tears. I've been waiting for this call for so long."
To be elected to the Hall of Fame, Pearson must receive 80% voting support by the entire 48-member Selection Committee on "Selection Saturday."
The Hall's Selection Committee, at its annual meeting in February, will consider 18 finalists: a Senior (Pearson), a Coach (Tom Flores), a Contributor (to be named Aug. 25) and 15 Modern-Era Finalists (to be determined from a preliminary list announced Sept. 16; reduced to 25 semifinalists in Nov. and to 15 finalists in January).
Current bylaws call for a class no smaller than four nor larger than eight. Pearson will be voted on for election independent of the other finalists.
"I know there is one more hurdle to get over, but this is the closest I've been," Pearson said. "This is a dream come true."
The Class of 2021 will be formally enshrined on Aug. 8, 2021 during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week .