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Rod Woodson

Rod Woodson
  • Hall of Fame 2009
  • Hall of Honor 2017
  • Pro Bowl 1989
  • Pro Bowl 1990
  • Pro Bowl 1991
  • Pro Bowl 1992
  • Pro Bowl 1993
  • Pro Bowl 1994
  • Pro Bowl 1996
  • Pro Bowl 1999
  • Pro Bowl 2000
  • Pro Bowl 2001
  • Pro Bowl 2002

There are not many first-ballot Hall of Fame selections. Often players have to wait for years for their day in the spotlight to arrive. But for Rod Woodson, it took just one year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame selection committee to deem him worthy of a Gold Jacket.

Woodson played 17 seasons in the NFL, 10 of them with the Steelers. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers (1997), Baltimore Ravens (1998-2001) and Oakland Raiders (2002-03).

"It's definitely an honor and a privilege to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," said Woodson shortly before his induction in 2009. "I've looked at my life and thought about how long the National Football League has been around, really how long pro football has been going on, and to be inducted and be one of 200-some guys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I think it's amazing. I look at myself, this country boy from Indiana, and really it's hard for me to believe that I'm a Hall of Famer, to put myself in that category, it's definitely a privilege.

"The pinnacle of any professional football player's career is to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I'm definitely honored and humbled."

Woodson was the Steelers first-round draft pick in 1987, and finished his illustrious career with 71 interceptions that he returned a total of 1,483 yards, including 12 of them for touchdowns. Woodson finished his career with 4,894 kickoff return yards, 2,362 punt return yards and five touchdowns on returns – two punts, two kickoffs and one fumble.

He was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times, selected as a cornerback, safety and a kick returner.

"He was something special as an athlete," said Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Noll, who drafted Woodson. "He had the great speed and the size."

Woodson earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors for his performance in 1993 when he recorded eight interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, 28 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two sacks. Woodson, who had 38 interceptions with the Steelers, was named team MVP three times.

He was one of only five active players named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994, and was also a member of the Steelers' 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

On the day he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Woodson praised his former Steelers coaches and teammates, and talked about how special it was to play for the black and gold and even thanked the fans for booing him.

"I just want to say thank you to the Rooney family, great, great family.  Arguably one of the best or the best sporting franchise in all of sports because of the family. I want to say thank you for giving me 10 wonderful years there.

"To the Steelers Nation thank you for accepting me, for cheering me on and after I left for booing me.  I'm serious for booing me.  Because you know, if you cheered me when I put on a Raiders uniform or a Ravens uniform, I think I would have lost a little respect for the Steelers Nation.  So I'm glad you booed me, because you should."