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Everson Walls:In his own words

Discussion in 'History Zone' started by Maikeru-sama, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    In Their Own Words: Everson Walls
    By Ray Holloman, AOL BlackVoices

    Everson Walls is a 14-year veteran of the NFL with the Cowboys, Giants and Browns. BV Sports recently caught up with the man who defended Dwight Clark in the 1981 NFC Championship Game and later ran Bill Belichick's defense to perfection in a Super Bowl XXV win over the Buffalo Bills. The following is an edited transcript.

    There have been two themes to my career -- people dogging me and me proving them wrong.

    When I came out of high school, I led my conference in interceptions but I didn’t get a scholarship to college. I went to Grambling with the mind-set that I was going to make it. My senior year I led the nation in interceptions. Still, twenty-eight teams passed on me on draft day. They dogged me. That motivated me.

    I got a shot with Dallas and I made it my mission to try and cover the best, no matter how badly I got beat. I used everything they taught me at Grambling and instincts that were even more primal. I was determined to use all resources to make team. In practice, I covered Tony Hill, Drew Pearson, the best receivers. When they ran a pass route, I stepped to the front of line to get a piece. I figured, if I could cover the best, I would be the best.

    In 1984, we made the NFC Championship Game and I got dogged again. People remember it as “The Catch,” but I remember it as one of the best games I ever played. That’s like a lot of my career, it gets glossed over. I had two interceptions, a fumble recovery, three or four passes broken up and seven tackles. But the game didn’t turn out the way we hoped. What you see now is just the finished product, San Francisco’s last gasp for air in a game that was full of great plays. It was a seesaw battle. Neither team played like they should lose. In the end San Francisco drives 91 yards and Joe Montana finds Dwight Clark to finish a great game.

    Dwight Clark was my man.

    He caught the ball, but I never say he “got me.” That last play took about a minute. I remember thinking, “When is it going to be over?” It culminated with Montana retreating and retreating and I’m trying to cover my man for the whole minute. When I finally look up, here comes the ball and Dwight reacts better to it than I did. By the time I saw the ball, it was too late to make a move without Dwight being able to make the catch. I never thought he got me, I always thought there was a chance. People don’t remember, but that didn’t end the game. I remember looking at the clock, wanting the offense to save my butt. We were the Cardiac Cowboys, we were using to coming back. We didn’t quite make it. Danny Wright hit Drew Pearson and he almost broke it, but Eric Wright brought him down by one finger. Shortly thereafter we fumbled. No Super Bowl.

    I remember the 10-year wait afterwards, before I finally played in a Super Bowl with the Giants. That’s when I first played for Bill Belichick. The one thing you can say is that in my career, I’ve played for four of the greatest coaches of all time -- Eddie Robinson, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick -- I had to learn something sooner or later.

    The moment I stepped into [defensive coordinator] Bill Belichick’s office, he looked at me and got the biggest smile on his face. I rarely ever got the respect from other coaches that I got from Bill Belichick from day one. I played four more years in the defensive backfield and I owe it all to Bill Belichick. He allowed me to become a better player. He allowed me to become a Super Bowl champion.

    In Super Bowl XXV against the Bills, he trusted his defense to me. I called most of the plays on field, to counter the Bills no-huddle offense. It was basically Jim Kelly vs. myself. I kept it simple, nothing too complicated. I played safety for the first time in my career. As the game rolled on, I was thinking about the San Francisco game years earlier, thinking about my career. The turning point of that game again came to me. It was the fourth quarter, the last drive for Buffalo as it turns out. Thurman Thomas busts through the line. I know this is probably the last drive and I know that if I miss this tackle I’m the goat all over again. I knew I had to make the best tackle of my career. It wasn’t that it was hard -- but the degree of greatness reflects the magnitude of the moment and no moment was bigger than this.

    I stopped him.

    I’m extremely proud of that play. The game was in the balance, Buffalo could have taken the lead, but I had a chance to make a great play and I did it. Buffalo missed the field goal and we won, 20-19. I ran for 30 yards and I jumped up in the air. They still play it on SportsCenter sometime. It was ridiculous how high I jumped.

    I remember opening my mouth later and trying to talk and I just cried like a baby. I guess I blew that moment. But the main thing was that I got that monkey off my back. I never felt like I got the respect I deserved. Like I said, that’s always been a theme of my career, whether in sports or personal life.

    Everson Walls now lives in Dallas with his family where he is pursuing a new dream -- bringing about the All-Star Legacy Village welness center in South Dallas.
  2. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I hope he gets into the Ring of Honor one day.

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