IRVING, Texas – Charles Haley was undoubtedly elated to learn he'd been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he was far from the only one.
In addition to his family, friends and fans, there was a sizable group of those happy to see Haley elected from within their own locker room – his teammates. Haley earned two of his five Pro Bowl selections and one of his two All-Pro nods during his five-year stint in Dallas, and he helped form the identity of the Cowboys' championship teams in the 1990s.
Those facts weren't lost on teammate and fellow All-Pro Darren Woodson, who was asked about Haley on Tuesday at an event for Hublot timepieces.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to see Charles finally go in. I always felt like he was a guy who should have gone in years ago," Woodson said. "I knew emotionally that it took its toll on him -- he felt like he should be in. It's just an honor that represents not only what he did in San Francisco but what he did here with the Dallas Cowboys, getting us over the hump as a defense and getting us that Super Bowl ring because of his talents and skills and all."
Haley recorded 34 of his 100.5 career sacks during the five-year stint with the Cowboys, helping lift the defensive side of the ball during the franchise's run of three Super Bowl wins in four years. Despite their defensive prowess, Woodson said Haley's election gives the spotlight to a unit that was often overshadowed by the Cowboys' high-powered offense, which featured Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
"We've never been recognized that way. I think it's an injustice and a slap in the face to the guys who played in the '90s," he said. "Guys like Ken Norton that was a great leader for us in '92. And Charles Haley, Tony Tolbert, Russell Maryland, the list goes on and on about the great football players on the defensive side of the ball that never got that recognition."
Most view Haley as one of the longest-standing members of the NFL community in need of recognition from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With that matter attended to, people are bound to turn toward Woodson as one of the Cowboys players most in need of commemoration.
Woodson didn't want to use Haley's moment to speak about his own Hall of Fame eligibility. He did, however, speak about another of Haley's many accolades he'd love to earn himself – the Cowboys' Ring of Honor.
"I look back on my career and look back on the guys I played with and all the success we had and being a captain since '94 -- yeah I want to be in the Ring of Honor," he said. "It's an honor to be up there with Roger Staubach and Randy White and Lee Roy Jordan and the list goes on and on. I'd love to love to be up there on that list."