FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – One week after being left out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Drew Pearson made his way to CBS 11 studios to discuss what life has been like since.
“It was so devastating and frustrating because it was the first time I had ever been a finalist,” he said.
Pearson said he still feels a great sense of disappointment, but has been pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support from fellow former players, the Hall of Fame selection committee members and all the many people who have wished him well on social media.
“The purest emotion is still disappointment. I’m still disappointed. I’ve gotten past it. Fifteen, 20 minutes later I was fine. It was just that moment and realization that you’re not getting in this time,” Pearson said.
Pearson, who waited 29 years to get in the Cowboys Ring of Honor said he thought this was surely his time to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“They’ve had this stigma for years. The only one of the 18 all-decade wide receivers, you’re the only one not in. You’d think they’d want to correct that,” he said.
Pearson showed a lot of emotion when he learned on the national television broadcast that he did not make it.
He had invited TV crews from the Dallas-Fort Worth market and they recorded his reaction.
He said he wasn’t proud of the emotion he showed because he’s always been a private person, but he’s trying to turn the negative into a positive.
“I was a little disappointed I showed that emotion publicly. I’m a private person,” Pearson said. “To show that kind of emotion in that situation, crying and the words I said and the disappointment I felt. Once I looked at it, I kinda wished it wasn’t public.”
When asked about the message it sends to people that it’s OK for even former professional athletes to cry when they face disappointment, Pearson detailed a series of disappointments where he’s cried several times before.
He said not being drafted, losing three brothers and two sisters to different ailments, losing his mother and father, and ending his career due to a car accident on LBJ expressway that took the life of another one of his brothers, he’s tried to turn every situation that’s brought sadness into his life into a positive.
“This is the first time I’ve really shown it publicly. And maybe this will show people that we athletes are human, too. We have feelings and disappointments and frustrations in our lives that we try to fight through.”
Pearson said he is man of faith and said he will get into the Hall of Fame when it’s God’s time.
Next year, if he’s a finalist again for the Hall of Fame, he says he won’t get emotional. He said he’s not going to let define him.
A life that has allowed him to do everything from visit the White House and meet three U.S. Presidents, as well as all of the other opportunities that have fallen into his lap, makes him feel blessed just to be a former Dallas Cowboy.
Pearson said what makes the Pro Football Hall of Fame so great is that it’s so hard to get into.
“When I get in, if I ever get in, I’m gonna say, ‘keep it tight, make it even tighter’.”
Pearson said when he became a Cowboy, he wasn’t thinking about the Hall of Fame. He wanted to be in the Cowboys Ring of Honor and when that happened, then he started to think maybe he was worthy of making the NFL Hall of Fame.
“You don’t dwell on it. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
WATCH FULL INTERVIEW HERE: