Former Dallas Cowboys great Everson Walls has the credentials to be in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and more.
Walls, a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday in Waco.
The more might one day include the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. Walls has been on the preliminary list of nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame several times, including for the Class of 2015. He is already a member of the Grambling Athletic Hall of Fame, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame and the SWAC Hall of Fame.
Walls played 13 seasons in the NFL, including nine in Dallas (1981-89), where he recorded 44 of his 57 career interceptions. He led the league in interceptions three times, including in 1981 when he had 11 as an undrafted rookie out of Grambling State. He also played with Cleveland and the New York Giants, winning a Super Bowl title after the 1990 season with the latter.
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“I can’t recall the actual date, but they [TSHOF] called me about two months ago and told me don’t tell anybody, but of course I told everyone I knew. Then they made it official like a month ago and gave me all the information I needed,” Walls said. “My daughter went crazy on social media. So I was elated. I was born and raised in [Richardson] Texas. Texas has the best athletes in the world.
“The Texas Sports Hall of Fame is pretty special, just behind the Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Joining Walls in the TSHOF Class of 2015 are former Prairie View A&M and NBA/ABA star Zelmo Beaty (posthumously), former Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt, former Brigham Young Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Ty Detmer, former Cowboys All-Pro safety Cliff Harris, former University of Texas swim coach Richard Quick (posthumously), former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson and former Baylor track star and Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner.
Walls made national news off the field in 2007 when he donated a kidney to former Cowboys teammate Ron Springs. Springs died in 2011, but Walls continues to work with charities dealing with diabetes. Springs was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990.
What are your thoughts on one day being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? It’s something every former player wants to gain — entrance to the Hall of Fame. I’ve always been on the early list, it’s been about 20 years now, so it doesn’t excite me much anymore. I’m usually down to the last choices left off, and that’s OK. My main goal in life, my bucket list, is to be extremely proud to be put into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Realistically, it would give me just as much pride as the Hall of Fame.
Who do you think might be next into the Ring of Honor? Jerry [Jones, Cowboys owner] has a new regime with their arena and their team. I have an understanding they take care of their own. We all wore the star, but the line between the new and old is pretty clear. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was left off it for some time. I can make a case, but I shouldn’t have to make a case. The numbers speak for themselves. I carried myself in a manner that fans should be proud of. I shouldn’t have to wait for it or argue for it.
Do you have an opinion on the Cowboys signing controversial defensive end Greg Hardy, who was charged with domestic violence before joining the team? He’s an amazing player, a game-changer. On paper, he’s not someone that should be on the squad. Not sure if he’s going to be suspended for the first few games, but Jason Garrett has some pressure especially after losing a great, class running back in DeMarco Murray. It’s a confusing time for Cowboys fans. I’m a huge fan. Just have to wait and see how things play out. I think the Cowboys dug themselves in a deep hole, but they have to come out and prove me wrong.
What advice would you give a rookie free agent player today? Times have really changed, but you have to keep working on your craft and perfect your craft to make sure it never goes out of style, and that’s what I did. I made sure I was the best I could be, physically and mentally. Make sure you study the game. When I first came into the league, I worked on my backpedals, hands, repetition, worked on one-on-one [coverage]. At the time, the Cowboys needed a cornerback, someone that could cover a wide receiver, and that was my goal. I wanted to be as polished as possible, with no second chances because as a free agent and rookie, it was hard enough. Then they can’t say you weren’t prepared.
How far away are the Cowboys from playing in a Super Bowl and what are they missing, if anything? Love the fact the offensive line is amazing and I love the fact that there are players on the team that never give up — they may not be the most talented, but they all have a lot of heart and endurance. It was a nice bounce-back year from disappointment. It was amazing last year, but they lost a powerful force in Murray. I think that anyone that says they can put any running back behind that line and do great is a bunch of crap. Murray led by example. This year, the running game has to be the X-factor. I think getting rid of Murray, it sets them back a few more years. Murray, with Tony Romo back there, was one of the best tandems. But now it’s a facet that has gone away and it kind of sets them back to ground zero, 8-8, struggling in games they should win.
Are you still in contact with the Springs family, and how tough has it been to move forward? My main reason for donating a kidney was that our families were so close. Our daughters still talk, our youngest still talks and our wives are still very best friends. We were never out of touch. His loss was very hard for all of us. We tried to make sure that the Springs family had everything they need. It’ll be that way for the rest of our lives.