CANTON, Ohio–Saturday August 8th 2009-The moment that former teammate and quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys Roger Staubach joined Bob Hayes Jr. on stage to unveil the bronze bust of Bob Hayes, symbolizing enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was one of the proudest moments for anyone that grew up as a true fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
It was the end of year after year of Hall Of Fame snubs, and was the final piece of Bob Hayes Athletic legacy.This was the day that Hayes believed would happen when he first set foot on these Hall of Fame grounds with his first wife, Altamese Hayes-Dotson, back in 1965, his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys.
However, it's also the day that a double-gold medal Olympic sprinter would question, wondering if it would come in time as Hayes struggled in his final years with health problems. Hayes son Bob Jr. said, in the video tribute to his father, "He always felt like he was an outcast. I could tell in his eyes, he had pain in his heart. I know for a fact that pain is gone." Saturday night before over 15,000 fans at Fawcett Stadium, Bullet Bob Hayes' most glorious moment in death brought many of his family and friends to tears.
"I don't care, I'll let it flow," said Hayes-Dotson, who was married to Bob for his entire NFL career before their divorce in 1977. "I have shed tears today wishing he could be physically here."
"No matter what happened, Bob and I remained close friends, and this is his lifelong dream," Hayes-Mohl said. "This is what he lived for before he died, to be in the Hall of Fame. This is where he's supposed to be."
Among all the more than 750 Hayes supporters were Sixteen members of the 1958 Matthew Gilbert Panthers black state championship team, about half of the surviving members, were there for their teammate's induction. Most of them came wearing Gilbert orange-and-green jackets, and were overwhelmed with pride at seeing one of their own from Jacksonville's Eastside taking his place among the NFL legends. "I'm like a little boy in the candy store," said Cicero Bell, one of the captains on that Gilbert team."Many of us have never been too far out of Jacksonville. This is the trip of a lifetime."
For a man once known as the world's fastest human, it's been a remarkable athletic journey of highs and lows. From 2 time gold medal Olympic hero, to a blur of a receiver who helped build America's team, The Dallas Cowboys!
Like many I believe that Hayes not only helped build America’s team he basically transformed the way every team in the NFL looked at the Wide Receiver position. Once Hayes and Staubach began to connect on what would become the legendary Hail Mary bombs, every team in the NFL shifted gears trying to find the next Bullet Bob Hayes. To this day his style of play is utilized. His next big accomplishment was his induction into the Cowboys Ring of Honor! That only left one Honor to go, and today in Canton Ohio justice has finally come.
Hayes had many issues that I could list as to why this Honor of the Hall Of Fame took so long, but on a day such as this it’s time to focus on the positive. "Many people said when he didn't get in the first time he was nominated in 2004, he'd never get in," said Hayes' daughter, Westine Lodge. "But God has the last say-so. We just had to wait on time." Now we can say Bob Hayes has done it all.
During his nine-minute speech presenting Hayes for induction, Staubach acknowledged that his teammate faced difficult challenges, "some more than most of us go through." It doesn't matter anymore, because that's all over. The fastest Dallas Cowboy who ever lived, the famous No. 22 before Emmitt Smith, can rest in peace.
Bob Hayes is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now and forever!