Everson Walls has been overlooked by the Pro Football Hall of Fame for years. Until his final year of eligibility.
Walls reached semifinalist status for the first time last month, and is now a finalist for the 2018 Hall of Fame class.
Walls is one of two players with ties to the Dallas Cowboys to reach the finalist stage. Former wide receiver Terrell Owens is also among the 15 finalists announced on Tuesday.
Former coach Jimmy Johnson did not receive enough support to advance past the semifinalist round.
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To be elected, a finalist must get a minimum of 80 percent of the votes cast by the selection panel. A maximum of five can be elected from the modern era. A Hall of Fame class is between four and eight (two seniors, one contributor and up to five from the modern era).
Walls played 13 seasons in the NFL, including his first nine with the Cowboys (1981-89). Walls was selected to four Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro once and second-team twice in his career.
Walls led the league in interceptions three times (1981, 1982 and 1985) and finished his career with 57, tied for 13th-most in league history. But Walls might be best remembered as the man who former San Francisco tight end Dwight Clark soared over in the end zone for “The Catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.
Owens, meanwhile, is a finalist once again. He fell just short a year ago. He is a member of the 1,000-catch club, finishing his career with 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. The 1,078 catches rank eighth and the 15,934 yards are the second-most in NFL history.
In his three years with the Cowboys from 2006-08, Owens posted 1,000-yard seasons with double-digit touchdowns in each. Owens made six Pro Bowls and five times was a first-team All-Pro, the only player in history to earn All-Pro with three different teams.
The finalists will be determined on “Selection Saturday” (Feb. 3) by the Hall’s selection committee the day before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.