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Retired NFL player, Everson Walls, was born December 28, 1959 in Dallas, Texas. Walls played for the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, and the Cleveland Browns. During his 14 seasons, he was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. He was also a 3-time All-Pro selection. Walls won a Super Bowl with the Giants after the 1990 season.
Pro scouts thought he was too slow for the NFL after he ran the 40-yard dash in a disappointing 4.72 seconds during workouts. Eventually, however, his hometown Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent, and he made an immediate impact, leading the league in interceptions with 11 during his rookie season. Walls received a Pro Bowl invitation for his contributions.
Coached by the legendary Tom Landry, the Cowboys reached the NFC Championship game that season, where they faced the San Francisco 49ers. In a tightly contested game that went back and forth, Walls had an outstanding game, with seven tackles, three deflected passes, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. Despite his efforts, he was on the short end of "The Catch," one of the greatest plays in NFL history. Walls covered 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark in the end zone when Joe Montana threw a high pass that Clark caught with his fingertips. The touchdown gave the 49ers the lead and the eventual victory. Clark's catch with Walls looking on was a cover photo for Sports Illustrated that week.
Surrounded by an already star-studded defensive unit, which included Randy White, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Harvey Martin, and Charlie Waters, Walls continued his outstanding play by leading the league in interceptions in two more seasons, in 1982 and 1985. He received Pro Bowl honors each of those years, and made it again in 1983. During this time, however, the Cowboys were unable to reclaim their dominance in the league, as they lost the NFC title game in 1982 and fell short again in 1983 and 1985. Despite this, Walls remained one of the most feared cover cornerbacks in the league; eventually, quarterbacks were forced to stop throwing the ball to his side. Everson also was known for his contract disputes with the Cowboys, which were eventually settled in 1987, when Walls was given a three-year deal worth 5.05 million. This made him the second-highest paid cornerback in the league.
In 1990, Walls joined the New York Giants, signing a two-year deal worth over one million and became a starter for the team, which featured another standout defensive squad with Lawrence Taylor, Leonard Marshall, and Carl Banks. Coached by Bill Parcells, with defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, the Giants posted a 13-3 record and reached the NFC Championship game, where they traveled to San Francisco to face the two-time defending Super Bowl champion 49ers. With a late field goal, the Giants were able to pull off the upset, 15-13, to advance to Super Bowl XXV, where they met the AFC champion Buffalo Bills. During the game, Walls made a critical play when he tackled Thurman Thomas in the open field with less than two minutes to play - a tackle that likely stopped a sure touchdown for the Bills. The Giants would win the Super Bowl, 20-19, on Scott Norwood's missed field goal attempt as time ran out. Walls received another Sports Illustrated cover photo as he was captured with his arms raised in victory after the Giants won the game.
In the twilight of his career, Walls' numbers began to diminish, as he recorded only seven interceptions in his final three seasons. He was traded to the Cleveland Browns during the 1992 season and would play 13 games for them before retiring in 1993.
Walls is one of the most prolific and decorated defensive backs to ever play the game. He is the only three-time season leader in interceptions. He also led his Cowboys in interceptions a franchise record five times, and is 10th all-time on the career interceptions list, with 57. In addition, he shares the career Pro Bowl interceptions record with four, and shares the single-game Pro Bowl record for interceptions with two. With experience under Eddie Robinson, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, Walls has had the privilege of working for some of the all-time greatest coaches.
Despite his accolades, Walls remains an outsider to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Most recently he was a preliminary nominee for the Class of 2006, but he has yet to crack the list of semi-finalists. For years, Walls has stated that he believes his untimely position during Dwight Clark's miracle catch tarnished his otherwise outstanding pro career. This did not impact his collegiate stature, as on December 6, 2006, it was announced that Walls would be inducted into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. On Tuesday, December 12, 2006, it was announced that Walls will donate a kidney to former Cowboys teammate Ron Springs, who has diabetes. The surgery was completed in March 2007.