When the San Francisco 49ers drafted DE/OLB Charles Haley in the fourth-round (No. 96) of the 1986 NFL Draft, they knew they had drafted a diamond in the rough. A pass-rush specialist with the potential to be a three-down player, there was no question that Haley’s potential was through the roof.
During Haley’s first NFL season he led all rookies in sacks as he paced the league with 12. A pleasant surprise considering he mainly played on passing downs, Haley made the most of his opportunities in year one.
Haley would ride that momentum two years later, as he finally became a full fledged starter at left outside linebacker in 1988 in which he recorded 11.5 sacks. He would solidify that position for the next three years where he racked up 33.5 sacks while being named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1990. Haley would go on and win two Super Bowls during his time in San Francisco.
#49ers DE Charles Haley on being traded to DAL: “When I left California, I left California. I was just mad at the world.”
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) July 23, 2015
But the marriage between the 49ers and Haley was short-lived as Haley was then traded to the rival Dallas Cowboys in 1992. Why was Haley traded you ask? It was due to the fact that he had numerous confrontations with the team’s coaching staff while also getting in a physical confrontation with QB Steve Young.
Haley says his Dad always told him: “There’s only two ways to learn. From your mistake or somebody else’s” — Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) July 23, 2015
Haley spoke about leaving San Francisco and the anger he felt toward the organization during that difficult time as he felt “betrayed.” However, as time wore on Haley realized that it wasn’t all that bad and was extremely thankful to have former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. by his side.
Haley would continue to be a force on the field as he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year once again in 1994. More importantly, Haley won three more Super Bowls with the Cowboys making him the only player in NFL history to own five Super Bowl rings. A question asked by Bay Area News Group Cam Inman if Haley would show off his bling during his Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, Haley humbly responded:
There was no questioning Haley’s skills on the field, he was truly one of the best during his time, and as a result will be honored in Canton, Ohio while officially being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Career Sacks: 100.5