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Class of 2018 Finalist Spotlight: Everson Walls

Class of 2018 Finalist Spotlight: Everson Walls

02/02/2018
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Former cornerback Everson Walls was recently named a finalist for the Class of 2018. If elected, he would become the 18th cornerback Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Walls was not selected in the 1981 NFL Draft despite leading the nation with 11 interceptions, a school-record, as a senior at Grambling State University. Labeled as too slow to play cornerback in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys signed him as a free agent. Walls immediately turned heads during the preseason when he intercepted three passes, recovered a fumble and scored a TD on a blocked punt to earn a roster spot.

As a rookie, he continued intercepting passes and earned a starting position by the fifth game of the season. He finished the year with a team-record and NFL-leading 11 interceptions to earn consensus All-Rookie and Pro Bowl honors.

Walls’s high-level defensive effort was not short-lived. He was a key figure in the Cowboys’ postseason berths in four of his first five seasons which included two appearances in the NFC championship game.

Although he kept up his high level of play, Walls was one of the few bright spots on an aging Dallas team for the last half of the 1980s. In 1990, he signed as a free agent with the New York Giants and was vital to the team’s season-long march towards a victory in Super Bowl XXV. He started every game at left corner and led the club in interceptions with six for 80 yards and his only career TD return. He also led the team in passes defensed (17) and recorded 58 total tackles.

After leading the Giants in interceptions again in 1991, Walls was waived midway through the 1992 season. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns where he finished his career in 1993.

Walls tallied 57 quarterback takeaways during his 13-year career, which ranked eighth all-time at the time of his retirement. He was the first player in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions three times (1981, 1983, 1985), and topped his team in interceptions seven times (1981, 1983, 1985, 1987-88, 1990-91).

Voted to four Pro Bowls (1982-84, 1986), Walls was named First-Team All-Pro three times (1982, 1983 and 1985) and earned All-NFC recognition four times (1982-85).

In 2007, Walls stepped up for his former teammate Ron Springs. He donated his kidney to help Springs who suffered from diabetes and was on the national transplant waiting list since 2004. Walls also wrote a book about his life, including his organ donation, called A Gift For Ron

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