Charles Lewis Haley is a former National Football League player who holds the distinction of being the first five-time Super Bowl champion. Haley was born in Gladys, Virginia, on January 6, 1964. Virginia was his mother’s name, and his father’s name is unknown. Haley went to William Campbell High School in Naruna, Virginia, and played basketball and football there. Haley was named defensive player of the year his senior year and helped his football team win the district championship.
Haley was awarded a scholarship to James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1982, where he joined the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He started at defensive end/linebacker his freshman year and had 85 tackles. Haley was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week after just three games. Haley moved to inside linebacker his sophomore year and recorded 143 tackles.
He had 147 tackles as a junior and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers (96th overall) in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL draft. Haley finished his senior year at JMU by switching to outside linebacker and recording 131 tackles. He was a two-time Division I-AA All American and the Roanoke Times & World News named him Virginia Defense Player of the Year. He received his diploma in 1987.
By 1988, Haley had been named to United Press International and Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie Team. He was named UPI NFC Defense Player of the Year the following year and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl. Haley was a key figure in the 49ers’ Super Bowl victories in 1989 and 1990. Haley had numerous violent clashes with the head coach over the years, and he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1992.
Haley was a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ championship teams in 1992, 1993, and 1995, making him the first NFL player to have five Super Bowl rings. In 1996, Haley was forced to temporarily retire due to back injuries and subsequent surgery. He returned to the San Francisco 49ers for his final NFL season on January 2, 1999. Haley officially retired in 2000 and became the Detroit Lions’ defensive coordinator. Haley was known throughout his professional career for his rage and bad behavior, which led to the breakdown of his marriage and divorce. He revealed after his retirement that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was receiving treatment.
Haley has received numerous awards throughout his career. In 1999, the JMU Athletic Department named their Defense MVP award after Haley, and in 2003, they gave him the Ronald E. Carrier Distinguishes Alumni Achievement Award. In 2006, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2011, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Haley’s memoir All the Rage: The Life of an NFL Renegade was released in 2012, and he was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. In 2015, he was inducted into the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame. Haley’s charitable contributions include The Salvation Army and the Jubuliee Center in San Francisco.