Is The Fifth Time A Charm For Charles Haley?

Wesley Hitt

For Charles Haley the waiting will come to an end this Saturday night...perhaps. That is when the NFL will reveal the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class of 2014.

Charles Haley has been here before, four separate times he has been a finalist to join football's immortals who are enshrined in the hallowed halls of Canton, Ohio. Four times Haley has been told maybe next year.

There is little doubt that Charles had the type of career that should see a player elected to the Hall of Fame, that has never been the issue. After all, he is the only player in NFL history to earn five Super Bowl rings. Along the way he collected five Pro-Bowl nods and was twice named as an All-Pro. He is even a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring Of Honor, a feat that is supposed to be even more difficult to achieve than is the HOF. Still, Charles Haley is like the rest of us; he has to buy a ticket to get into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Even though Haley was considered to be one of the top players of his era, it is well documented that his behavioral issues have had a negative impact on his legacy. To say the very least, his conduct was "unconventional", and that is putting matters kindly. During his career Charles engaged in fights with both teammates and the media. Most well known are his verbal encounter with his former head coach, George Seifert, and a more physical confrontation with his former QB, Steve Young. Since leaving the game, Haley has been diagnosed with and sought treatment for bipolar  disorder. The question that remains is 'Has Charles Haley done enough to atone for his conduct during his career?' Only those voters who get a say in the Hall's voting process can say for sure. All Charles can do is apologize to those whom he lashed out at and hope that the man that he has become since leaving the game will help sway some minds.

"I just pushed everyone away. I'm very ashamed. It was so strange. Sometimes it would be kind of an out-of-body experience where I could see myself doing it, but I couldn't stop it. I couldn't even figure out why I was doing it."

"It's a blessing to be able to change and see things for the first time. It's the greatest thing I've ever had, more pleasurable than winning a Super Bowl. Because I don't have to walk around being angry all the time." - Charles Haley

Former Dallas Cowboys teammate-turned-broadcaster Troy Aikman feels that he has. The former QB has taken up Haley's case for the Hall of Fame.

"When you go back and you look at the teams that won those five Super Bowls, he was a big part of those teams that won those five Super Bowls. That’s meaningful to me. And having had him on my team for three of them, I’m not so sure we would’ve won any of them if it weren’t for him. I’m pretty adamant about the fact that I believe he deserves to be in and I’m pretty disappointed that it hasn’t happened." - Troy Aikman

Still, Haley is facing an uphill battle to take the place that his efforts earned but his behavior continues to deny him. In a recent on-line chat session, Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin gave his thoughts on the likelihood of Haley attaining the status that he deserves.

Charles Haley - Is this his time for the HOF?

I think Haley remains on the bubble. There are five modern era spots open and you can pencil in Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones and Michael Strahan for three of them. That leaves 12 candidates vying for two spots. Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, Will Shields and Aeneas Williams are all strong candidates, as is Haley.

While the odds may be longer than they should be, come Saturday night fans in two NFL cities will be pulling for the one man who helped bring multiple championships to each of their teams to hear his name called as a member of the 2014 class of inductees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As Calvin Watkins stated in his argument for Haley's candidacy:

There are three other Hall of Famers, Warren Sapp, Howie Long and Andre Tippett that have fewer sacks than Haley. Yet, there is no disputing the impact Sapp and Long had on the game. Tippett had a fantastic career and his defensive résumé is somewhat similar to Haley's. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All Pro.

So maybe, just maybe, Haley gets in.

Personally, I think that Haley has done enough and that it is time for him to become one of the immortals of the game. Still, we all have opinions and not all of us agree.  That is what makes the discussion fun. So what are your thoughts? Should Charles Haley be the next Dallas Cowboy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

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