Despite making it further in the process than ever before, the end result Saturday was too familiar for Everson Walls, who was not selected into the 2018 Class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Walls had never even made it to the semifinal round of 25 candidates before, and certainly hadn't been on of the 15 finalists like he was this year. But in his final year of eligibility as a modern-day candidate, Walls was left off the ballot.
This year's class, announced Saturday in Minneapolis on the eve of Super Bowl LII, includes eight new inductees: Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Brian Urlacher. The official induction will take place in Canton, Ohio in August.
Unfortunately for Walls, this was the last year he could make it to the Hall of Fame as a modern-day inductee. He'll have to wait to be eligible as a senior candidate, having been out of football for at least 25 seasons.
Walls led the NFL in interceptions as a rookie in 1981, with 11, which still stands as the most by a first-year player in NFL history. Walls is also the only cornerback in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions three different times.
Walls, who was a standout at Grambling, was one of at least 100 undrafted rookies in the Cowboys' 1981 class and Walls recalls being one of about 25 rookie defensive backs trying to make the team.
Walls played for the Cowboys from 1981-89, earning four Pro Bowl selections, before moving on to division rival New York, where he helped Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick win a Super Bowl. A celebratory Walls made the cover of Sports Illustrated following the Giants' 20-19 win over the Bills to end the 1990 season.
Walls finished his career with the Browns, playing 13 total seasons with 57 interceptions, which ranks him tied for 13th in NFL history. Walls had 44 picks with the Cowboys, good for second in club history behind Hall of Famer Mel Renfro's 52 interceptions.