He was told he was too slow for the NFL and would not be able to make it. He went undrafted in 1981 coming out of Grambling State University. His dream then became a reality when his hometown team signed him as undrafted free agent. Everson walls went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL and made an immediate impact from the time he stepped onto the field in 1981 for the Dallas Cowboys.
Everson Walls was born on December 28, 1959 in Dallas, Texas. He was raised by his mother in north Dallas just two miles from the Cowboys practice facility. Walls attended Lloyd V. Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas. He didn’t start playing football until his senior year and ended up leading the division in interceptions.
After graduating high school in 1977, Everson Walls enrolled at Grambling State University. He was invited to training camp by an assistant football coach and impressed the legendary head coach of Grambling, Eddie Robinson. Walls impressed Robinson so much that he received a full football scholarship and did not disappoint. Some of Walls accomplishments while playing at Grambling were being selected to the Kodak 1AA All-American team, the Black College All-American team and during his senior season he led the nation in interceptions. Walls gives credit to coach Eddie Robinson for helping him mature as a human being.
In the spring of 1981 Everson Walls attended Cowboys training camp as a free agent. He was signed as a free agent and just like at Grambling State, he did not disappoint. In 1981, Walls led the NFL in interceptions with 11 as well as earning a Pro Bowl invitation as he helped lead the Cowboys to the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. Walls had seven tackles, three deflected passes, one fumble recovery and two interceptions in the game. But even though he a great game for the Cowboys, it would be one play that Walls would have his name attached to for the rest of his career. That play would be “The Catch” by Dwight Clark as Walls was covering him that has gone down in NFL history. The play also made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Everson Walls never let the Dwight Clark play affect his play on the field. He went on to lead the NFL in interceptions again with seven in the strike shortened 1982 season, as well as nine in 1985. He also earned three more Pro Bowl honors in 1982, 1983 and 1985. He was named first team All-Pro in 1983 and second team All-Pro in 1982 and 1985. In 1986 Walls was the youngest player named to the Cowboys 25th Anniversary Team and in 1987 was named Cowboys Man of the Year. Walls was part of the Cowboys secondary led by cornerback Dennis Thurman and they became known as Thurman’s Thieves. Others who made up that group were Ron Fellows, Michael Downs, Bill Bates, Ricky Easmon, Victor Scott, and Dextor Clinkscale.
After playing for the Cowboys from 1981 to 1989, Walls then signed with the NY Giants in 1990. Playing safety for the first time in his career, Walls led the Giants with six interceptions. The Giants posted a 13-3 record in 1990 and went on to beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Once again Everson Walls would make the cover of Sports Illustrated, but this time as a world champion.
The Cleveland Browns would be where Everson Walls finished his NFL career. He played for the Browns during the 1992 and 1993 seasons before retiring. With Walls leaving the NFL, he also left behind some records. He is the only player to lead the NFL in interceptions three different times. He also led the Cowboys in interceptions a record five times. He holds the record for Pro Bowl interceptions with four. Walls is 10th all-time on the career interception list with 57. How does Walls match up to other Hall of Fame defensive players when it comes to interceptions?
Mel Renfro, 52
Willie Brown, 54
Darrell Green, 54
Lem Barney, 56
Some other honors given to Everson Walls after retiring in 1993 were being named to the All-Time Cowboys Team. Being named to the NFL’s All Decade team for the 1980’s and in 1998 Walls was elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
As a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Everson Walls became close friends with running back Ron Springs. That friendship grew as both moved on with their NFL careers and onto life after football. In 2006 as Springs was suffering through diabetes and needing a kidney transplant, it was Walls who stepped up and offered one of his kidneys to Springs after finding out he was a match. In March of 2007, the surgery was done successfully giving Springs a new lease on life. Walls wrote a book titled “A Gift for Ron”, which tells of his experiences on and off the field and his decision to help Ron Springs. Walls and Springs have also started a foundation called “Gift For Life Foundation”. The site is to spread awareness about organ donation. You can find more information here. www.giftforlifefoundation.org
Everson Walls and his wife Shreill Walls have two children and still reside in the Dallas area.
Despite Everson Walls outstanding career which includes multiple honors and records, he still remains on the outside of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Walls was a preliminary nominee for the Class of 2006, but has not reached the list for semi finalists. Is it because of Dwight Clarks catch in the 1981 NFC Championship game that is keeping Everson Walls out of the Hall of Fame? I would hope not because his NFL career speaks for itself. As a fan growing up watching Walls play I would like to think someday soon he will get serious consideration for what he truly deserves, which is a place in Canton, Ohio next to the other greats of the NFL.