Dallas Cowboys: A Tribute To “Mr. Clutch” Drew Pearson.

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The Tragedy

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The Tragedy:

DrewPearson3On March 21st 1984, following a poker game where Drew Pearson took $300 off of Dallas Cowboys teammate Doug Donley (he didn’t normally have a seat at that table), but the ride back from Coalgate Oklahoma was a long one and it was a good way to pass the time.

The bus carrying the Dallas Hoopsters arrived at the Dallas Cowboys practice facility at Forest Lane and Abrams around 1 a.m. Drew Pearson loved managing the Cowboys basketball team, but there was a lot to do before leaving in 12 hours to fly to Washington, D.C. for a series of three exhibition games against the Washington Redskins. The first thing was to drop off his younger brother, Carey (27 yrs old) who was going to stay with one of the other Pearson brothers, Andre, who lived just down Interstate 635 in Garland.

Only minutes later, Drew Pearson awoke to flashing lights. There was glass everywhere and his brother Carey’s limp body was resting on his shoulder. He shook his brother to see if he was alive, but he remained motionless. Drew dragged himself out of the car, stood up, and yelled to the nearest police officer,

“Is he dead?”

“Yes he is, the officer replied. You know we have to give you a breathalyzer.”

Pearson didn’t respond. Nothing could be more irrelevant. All he could think about was having to call New Jersey to tell his mother, Minnie, that her youngest son was dead.

The ambulance rushed Drew Pearson to Presbyterian Hospital with a broken clavicle and internal bleeding. The doctors informed him that he had a hole in his liver the size of a softball and they will have to crack the membrane between his ribs to insert tubes to control the flow of blood.

His first thought when he came out of surgery was,

“Why am I spared? I want to be dead. I want my brother to be alive.”

LandryStaubachMortonDrew Pearson’s family spent as much time with him as they could, but eventually had to leave for NJ to join their mother in South River to bury Carey. Drew was in no shape to travel and missed the funeral. Much to his surprise, every time he opened his eyes, the emotionless leader of the Dallas Cowboys, the one Drew Pearson felt had no feelings for him at all other than as a football player, Tom Landry, was at his bed side in the hospital. Among others who spent every moment they could at his side were, Roger Staubach and his best friend Harvey Martin. Drew had the comfort of knowing that at least one member of his Cowboys family was there for him at all times. In fact, Tom Landry blew off attending training camp to be there with Drew.

“It makes a big difference when people come to your side, Staubach said. My mother had pancreatic cancer during the 1973 season. I was watching her die at home. If it were not for my family and my teammates, well, it’s just so difficult”.

“They kept me going.”

When Pearson was finally able to return home, Carey had been buried and his family was there for him once again. Drew had fallen in to a deep state of clinical depression. The family was sitting in the living room one day when his mother asked Andre to go in and check on him. When he entered the room Drew yelled,

“Why are you here? I don’t need you. I don’t need anybody.”

Andre left the room and told the family,

“He’s not in his right state,”

Andre understood what he was going through. Drew Pearson had always been the fixer in the family. The one to make things right. He was always the one who was there for the brothers in tough times and told them to be strong. This was unbearable for Drew. He had just gone through a divorce and now he had lost his brother and his career in a crash he couldn’t even remember happening. As Andre said,

“pressure will bust a pipe.”

Drew continued to lash out at his loved ones and eventually realized something was wrong. One of the Dallas Cowboys doctors told him he had clinical depression and needed help.

“I don’t know if I ever got to the point where I would have taken my own life, but I had a tremendous sense of guilt, Pearson remembers now.I didn’t want to live anymore. I just wanted answers to why this happened, why it went down the way it did. Sometimes, you can’t get those answers until you’re gone. I wanted to be gone to find out what the answers were.”

The drinking didn’t help.

“Oh yeah, I turned to the bottle, Pearson said. I drank more than I normally did to mask the pain and depression to get through the day.”

“I don’t know if I was ever an alcoholic, but I needed a crutch. I needed something to fall back on, and that was it for me.”

“I knew it wasn’t real. I knew it wasn’t permanent. But I had all of these thoughts go through my mind, how my family felt when they got the call, that continuously played in my mind. I had to get rid of it.”

Roger Staubach talked about the changes he saw in his good friend.

“He was a different person, He was miserable.

I don’t think you ever get over that.”

The drinking began to subside. The debilitating depression lessened and he slowly got better. Then, March 22 rolled around.

On the day of the accident, you would never see Drew, Andre said. He would just go into his bedroom and close the door. He wouldn’t deal with anybody for a day or so.”

“We would call and reach out to him during that time. He would avoid us. Sometimes, he still does that.”

Everybody grieves differently. Some hold onto grief for quite some time.”

Pearson was struck hard when Jerry Brown’s mother (Stacey Brown) invited Josh Brent to sit with the family at the memorial. When she told the Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and the players that she loves Brent like a son and he needs their support because that was what Jerry would want. Drew Pearson saw the power of forgiveness first hand.

“I haven’t gotten that forgiveness, Pearson said. My family has supported me, but I haven’t really gotten that forgiveness from them where one of them puts their arm around me and says, Drew, it’s all right.”

When Andre was asked if that was true or just the guilt talking he replied,

“The thing is, some people don’t see it, and some people refuse to see it.”

Andre is an associate minister with the Risen Son Baptist Church. He resides in Omaha Nebraska with his wife and Children. He conceded that his brothers and sisters have never been a touchy, feely bunch. He’s not sure how Drew would respond if one of them put their arms around him for comfort. Andre said he’s been there when Drew ranted about how the accident was his fault, how he should have been the one to die, not his little brother. Andre told Drew it’s not his fault, and he needs to forgive himself.

JoshBrentThere is a major difference in the stories of Josh Brent and Drew Pearson. Brent was more than two times over the legal limit and faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter. Pearson nursed two beers on the bus ride back from Oklahoma and was not legally drunk at the time of the crash. He was merely exhausted and fell asleep at the wheel. However, there is no difference in the guilt and the emotional state of mind the two share.

“I would love to sit down and let him know what is next, what to expect from here on out, Pearson said. Not a therapist’s or doctor’s view of this, but someone who has been through it.”

“Without a doubt, I still feel guilt. I’ve gotten through a lot of that with my faith, family, friends and fans. I’m able to deal with it.”

 “But it’s hard to look my family in the eye to this day. It’s hard for me to be comfortable around them.”

Drew Pearson knows how forgiveness can help Brent heal. But has Drew Pearson ever forgiven himself?

“I don’t know if he has, Andre said. But he does seem different than when things first went bad. A lot different. I think he’s more at peace with the situation than he’s ever been.”

(I would like to give credit to David Moore from SportsDayDFW for the quotes from Drew Pearson and family about the tragic events of 1984.)

The Story continues on the next page. Click on the Continue link below my Author Bio.

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  • MichaelValentino

    Love Drew Pearson and love this tribute. He was clutch. He rarely dropped the ball. He made the big catch in big games. I think the Cowboys were playing the Giants one game. Pearson scored and went up to do a fancy spike, landed funny and buckled his right knee. He was in obvious pain. Heck, it hurt watching it. Drew goes back to the bench and he could feel Tom Landry staring a hole through him. After the defense held, when the offense went back on the field, he showed no mercy to Pearson. Coach knew Pearson was hurting. So, what does Landry do? He calls a deep route. To Pearson! Drew had to reach deep down inside to run that route. Drew lined up far left, the X receiver in that formation. He had to run a deep post. Drew hauled in the deep bomb for another TD – on back-to-back possessions. He probably ran that route out of fear. If he didn’t make the play, he’d have to face a very unhappy Tom Landry. lol.

    • MichaelValentino Ya i saw drew tell that story in the Tom Ladry football life video

    • Thank You for the kind words

    • Football Mensa

      Michael I remember that play like 10 minutes ago. Landry could do the glare like no one else.

      • MichaelValentino

        Football Mensa Pearson wanted to dig a hole and crawl into it. He didn’t even want to make eye contact with Landry. That was funny.

        • Football Mensa

          It was hilarious because we didn’t have to run the play or look at Landry….lol

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa Exactly! I’ve gotten “the look” from my wife many times (I tend to do a LOT of stupid things) and that is scary enough….but ” the look” from Landy. Man, I think I’d have peed myself. lol

        • Football Mensa

          Does your wife wear a fedora ? lol…I hear ya Mike. We have all gotten that look…from our wife….

        • MichaelValentino Football Mensa My dad has that same type of look.

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa rofl

        • MichaelValentino

          CowgirlCas22 MichaelValentino Football Mensa except you, Cas, never do anything bad to make him give you the look, right? …uh, am I right? lol

        • Football Mensa

          LOL Cas….We’ll call it the Landry Glare from now on…

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa Mensa…ur nuts.

        • MichaelValentino CowgirlCas22 Football Mensa I am pleading the 5th.  I also have Lawyer friends in low places lol

        • MichaelValentino

          CowgirlCas22 MichaelValentino Football Mensa I’m starting to  think you and Mensa have friends in the mob, too. lol

        • Football Mensa

          Me and Cas will go godfather on ya ass in a heartbeat….

        • Football Mensa

          Sad thing Michael, is I actually do know a mob guy…and get this . He is a Pats fan…lol

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa It makes perfect sense! So, tell me….what were his connections to Spygate? lol

        • MichaelValentino Football Mensa I am sure some of my clients are connected  most designers are italian

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa I’m suddenly thinking “witness protection program.” Now… how do I explain my absence to the wife?

        • Football Mensa

          LMAO…….that’s friggnin funny. I will email you some stories about him one day….dude makes more in 1 day betting football (legit mind you) than all of will make combined in our lifetimes….it’s staggering the money he makes betting football.

        • MichaelValentino

          CowgirlCas22 MichaelValentino Football Mensa Some of them “must know a guy who knows a guy”. 🙂

        • Football Mensa


        • Football Mensa

          We will give her money, she will never miss you…lol

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa man….don’t tell him I made the “Spygate” comment. Blame it on some Steelers fan. 🙂

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa She’d rather have the money!  lolllllllllllll

        • Football Mensa

          LOL….gonna tell Mrs. Valentino….HA !….

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa she’d agree with me though. 🙂

        • Football Mensa

          LOL Michael…..good stuff you two. I gotta run I am going to Los Amigos to eat. Best Rita’s in Houston and it’s just a little hole in the wall…

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa Sounds good. see you tomorrow Mensa. thanks for the laughs…. we sure strayed from football. lol

        • Football Mensa

          it can’t be football all the time….gotta have some fun with it

    • Michael Shafer

      This is weird to find this article and to find fellow fans that are as passionate as I am about this Great Player! I am 49 years old now and there isn’t another player in all the sports I have watched in my life that can even compare to Drew Pearson! I was huge Dallas Cowboy fan from the time I knew what football was. I grew up in San Antonio TX and pretty much everyone I knew was a Cowboy’s fan. Everyone Loved Roger Staubach and Tont Dorsett and so did I, but everyone who knew Me had no doubt who My favorite player was. I had a shirt with the Cowboy’s helmet on the front and on the back it said Lil’ Drew! That was my nickname from elementary throughout my high school years. Some of my lifelong friends still call Me that to this day. My game room in my house today has a great pick of the “Hail Mary” above my stadium seats from Texas Stadium. Everyone always ask Me “what made you become such a die hard fan of Drew?” My answer is pretty simple, He was and still is the most clutch receiver and player I have ever seen!! Game after game when it was third and twelve or third and whatever, and everyone in the world knew who the ball was going to, He always made the catch!!!! Like other people mentioned, the 81 NFC divisional playoff game was it for Me! When the game looked completely over and the Cowboys were doomed, Drew scored two touchdowns in less than 3 minutes!! Everyone always talks about the “Hail Mary” which was unbelievable, but He had so many plays that were game winning dangers to the other team! Everyone also remembers the “catch” by Dwight Clark in the NFC Championship game. Nobody would remember it if it wasn’t for the lucky but great jersey tackle the defensive player made on Drew around mid field. There was nothing but open field and the end zone had He not made the play. Danny White got Hit and fumbled the following play and that was it!!
      OK I will end on this, how can a Great receiver/player who was one of only two receivers named to the all Decade Team of the 70’s not be in the Hall of Fame?? The other receiver is Lynn Swann. Swann no doubt was a great receiver, but Drew has better stats in every category except TD’s, I believe Swann has one or two more career TD’s! Drew has better numbers in every other catagory! If anyone says “well Swann won more Superbowls” my answer would be, yeah but it is a “team” sport and again Drew has better numbers!! Swann has been in HOF for 15 years!! If people don’t believe there is an East Coast bias and a Bias against the Cowboys in general, they are not truth tellers!!! It is a shame on the HOF that Drew Pearson isn’t in it! I hope one day soon they will come to their senses and put this Man in where He so deservingly belongs!?!?!

  • Football Mensa

    Cas you know what’s a bummer about being young like you ? You didn’t get to see the HAIL MARY !! LOL….I was in 6th grade when that play  happened. We had company that day and no one was watching the game but me. I was almost in tears because I thought Dallas was going to lose. I was moping throwing whatever I could get my hands on and then KA—POW!!!!!! Pearson catches the ball , I jumped up and screamed YES YES YES YES (there isn’t enough room for all the yes”s I screamed). I was jumping up and down and my mom runs into the living room and ask what happened to me…..I just yelled  “WE SCORED”….God I loved my COWBOYS…Jerry has taken that away from all of us.. I hate him.

    • Football Mensa lol but i did get to see it, just not at the time.

      • MichaelValentino

        CowgirlCas22 Football Mensa goooood answer. lol

      • Football Mensa

        LOL Cas……God it was a beautiful thing….watching Vike fans get all pissed off…..LOL

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa I’m still not sure how Cowboys fans got out of Metropolitan Stadium alive that day. haha

        • Football Mensa


        • MichaelValentino Football Mensa good point

      • Football Mensa

        Cas I would like to be young like you again as long as I could have my 70’s memories…

    • MichaelValentino

      Football Mensa I think Drew pushed off a little on that play. shhhhhhhhhhh…that stays here. Capiche?! 🙂

      • Football Mensa

        NOPE !!!! Momentum swung his arms….it’s how you word it…

        • MichaelValentino

          Football Mensa You, sir, are a genius! (Probably a well-paid defense attorney too) lol

        • Football Mensa

          LMAO…Nah I’m just a good ol construction guy….I have friends (lawyers) in low places though.

  • Football Mensa

    Cas tweet your link again to the Pearson story and I will retweet it…

    • Football Mensa ok will do

    • Football Mensa drew pearson retweeted my story to over 177,000 followers lol.

  • Defense 28

    great article cowgirl drew pearson is my brothers all time favorate cowboy. he’s right up there for me also, he was mr. clutch for sure like i always say the original 88. i think he should be in the hall of fame his stats are as good as the steelers 88, but he won the super bowls against us. I really like the fact you made about the tackle that they made on him in 81 nfc champ game alot of people don’t remember that he looked like he was going to break that for a td, next play jim xxxxxxxxx stuckey recovered danny white’s fumble and the rest is history. me and my brother talk about that play in that game all the time and the fact dorsett got injured early. some games never die..

  • ChrisG7

    No question about it the original 88, Mr. Clutch Pearson. That black and white picture is just amazing and its always nice reliving the original glory days. Great tribute