For more than a decade, sculptor Scott Myers has worked with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, creating busts of its newest members.
Myers, a veterinarian in Granbury, first started in 2003 and has since done 14 of the 298 Hall members.
This year, he requested and was granted permission to sculpt the bust of one of his favorite players, former Dallas Cowboys linebacker and defensive end Charles Haley. Haley will be inducted into the Class of 2015 on Aug. 8.
Haley, who played 14 years with the Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, is a five-time champion, two-time Pro Bowler and a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. He finished his career with 498 tackles and 100 1/2 sacks.
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Haley won two titles with the 49ers (XXIII, XXIV) and three with the Cowboys (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX).
A longtime Cowboys fan, Myers has sculpted the heads of three former Cowboys - Haley, Bob Hayes and Rayfield Wright.
“Two of those Cowboys had very unique distinctions. With Haley winning five rings and Bob Hayes is the only person to win a Super Bowl and an Olympic gold medal. I never thought I would be part of this, something so special,” Myers said. “To say that I’ve done 4.7 percent of the busts, is a special part of the Hall of Fame legacy — it’s really fun.”
Others on his list are Rickey Jackson, Randall McDaniel, Chris Hanburger, Curley Culp, Chris Doleman, Bruce Matthews, Emmitt Thomas, Fred Dean, Claude Humphrey, Elvin Bethea and Russ Grimm.
Why did you request to do Charles Haley’s bust? I was always a Cowboys fan and really liked watching Haley. I loved his intensity when he played and he’s a great person. He’s also the only man to win five Super Bowl rings, which is something special for him. It was something special to sculpt him. He is such a genuine and neat individual. He is super friendly and a huge Cowboys fan. I picked him up from his home and we talked for several hours — he really enjoyed playing for Dallas.
Was there anything difficult or easy about making his bust? It was no more difficult than the others. No matter who it is, you have to get a sense of the type of player they were. It helps to talk to them; their ideas tell you a lot about the player they were. You really have to look through old photos and spend time with them to be able to see what they looked like 20, 25 years ago.
How long did it take you to finish Haley’s bust? For my part, I started April 19 and turned it in June 2. Charles saw it twice before I was done. You want to make sure they see it. That’s really important. You take old photos and really have to get the likeness from their playing days. Hairstyle, facial hair. They come in and have to approve it and he did. Second time he came to see it, I wasn’t finished, but I was close.
Who was the first player you made a bust for? Elvin Bethea in 2003 from the Houston Oilers. The Hall of Fame called me and asked if I wanted to do it and I said yes. I drove down to Houston and sculpted his bust in his kitchen.
Will you attend the ceremony in Canton? I will get to attend. I’ll be able to see all the busts, be on the field and sit with Haley’s group of players.
Do you get to keep any replicas? I get a replica and the player also gets one. All my replicas are at home.
Have you run into any problems or a player who didn’t like something? I have been very lucky that I haven’t had any problems. When I meet with a player, I make a point to them that if they don’t like something, to let me know anything different. I want it to be exactly how they want it. Making a head is a very unique sculpture. It’s an uphill battle and challenge to get a bust to look like someone 25 years ago — I don’t know what I looked like 25 years ago. But after every bust and ceremony, that person will come home and I always get a phone call complimenting me and saying how they appreciate all my hard work.
If there was one player whose sculpture you’d like to do, Hall of Fame or not, who would it be? I’d like to do it for Daryl [Moose] Johnston. He should be in the Hall, he did the most unglamorous job. He won. He blocked for Emmitt Smith.
What’s the process of being selected to sculpt a player? Every year, it depends on the player’s travel plans. Where they live, where they work. They are all well-known people and it’s a challenge to match up schedules. You get the measurements of a player, have to sculpt them without even meeting them. Then they come in and take a look at your work. I was lucky enough that Charles lives in Dallas. With just old photos, I created his bust and that first meeting was the first time I met Charles and he saw his sculpture and was just blown away with it.
Out of all the Hall of Fame busts, do you have a favorite? Charles has to be my favorite. Just meeting with him and talking with him was a special moment. He’s really nice and I admire him a lot for all the challenges he had to do, had to accomplish to win five rings. So many busts remind me of my childhood. I loved watching the NFL from the early ’60s and seeing the one for Joe Namath just brought so many memories back to me. Tom Landry is another. It’s not so much the look of them, but the emotions that bring with it.
What’s in the future for you? In the last few years, I’ve really focused on sculpting sports — mostly football. I’ve done all kinds of drawings and paintings, but really working on football. Right now, I am doing some drawings on the members of the Hall of Fame, from the first class to present time. Not all, but most. Starting with the likes of Red Grange and Sammy Baugh and putting it all together. I want to put together all the players that influenced me through drawings.
As a fan, how do you think the Cowboys did last season and expectations for next season? It was great to see them have a strong season. I hope the running game can hold up. It was a big part of their winning percentage. I do think they’ll have another strong season — they have an unbelievable offensive line.
Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement
Aug. 8, Canton, Ohio
TV: 6 p.m., NFL Network
Class of 2015: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Bill Polian, Junior Seau, Will Shields, Mick Tingelhoff, Ron Wolf