INDIANAPOLIS -- For Charles Haley, Saturday was a first. He didn't make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end made the cut to 10.
It was another step toward induction.
Both Haley and Bill Parcells were eliminated in the cut from 10 to five. Thus, for only the second time in seven years the Cowboys will not have anyone with ties to the team inducted.
Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf were the modern-era candidates elected to the Class of 2012. Seniors candidate Jack Butler will be enshrined alongside them Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
The Cowboys have had six players with ties to the team enshrined in the past seven years, including Deion Sanders last year, Emmitt Smith in 2010 and Bob Hayes in 2009.
"I know that everyone on the list deserves to be in," Haley said. "And I'm honored to be among the final 10."
Haley has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for seven years, with this his third as a finalist. But his chances to earn induction have improved with the elections of fellow pass rushers Richard Dent last year and Doleman this year.
Haley is the only player with five Super Bowl rings -- two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys -- and his teams went 153-66, including 19-6 in the postseason. His 100.5 sacks came in 71 games, and his teams were 59-12 in those games. His teams ranked in the top 10 in total defense in his first 11 seasons.
Haley, Larry Allen and Parcells are candidates for 2013. Allen will be eligible for the first time next year, along with defensive tackle Warren Sapp and defensive end Michael Strahan.
Parcells was a candidate for the third time. He also was a finalist in 2001 and '02 before he returned to coaching with the Cowboys.
Parcells' candidacy generated the longest discussion Saturday at 56 minutes, as the selection meeting lasted a record 7 hours, 36 minutes.
Receiver Tim Brown, a Dallas Woodrow Wilson product, was among the first five players cut. None of the receivers -- Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed -- made the Class of 2012.
In fact, Martin was the only skill-position player to earn induction. He retired as the NFL's fourth-leading rusher with 14,101 yards and 90 touchdowns.
Martin credited Parcells for getting him to Canton and expressed disappointment that Parcells isn't going in with him. He said he would like Parcells to present him in Canton.
"The bittersweet part about it is Parcells [not getting in]," Martin said. "He has meant so much to my career. I think without him my career isn't even 30 percent of what it was. He taught me not only how to be a professional athlete, but he also had a lot to do with teaching me how to be a man."
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760