Jan. 31, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Former Purdue defensive back Rod Woodson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. He became just the 62nd player to be chosen in his first year of eligibility.
Woodson played for the Boilermakers from 1983 to 1986. He was a consensus All-American as a senior and a first team All-Big Ten selection his sophomore, junior and senior seasons - one of only four players in school history to be so honored on three occasions. Woodson tied the Purdue career record with 11 interceptions (since broken) and currently ranks second in career solo tackles (320), fourth in total tackles (445) and seventh in pass breakups (29). He also left as the career leader with 1,535 kickoff return yards and now ranks third.
Woodson capped his collegiate career in grandiose style against Indiana on Nov. 22, 1986, playing both ways in a 17-15 victory over Indiana at Ross-Ade Stadium. Actually, he played all ways. Offensively, Woodson started at tailback for the first time since high school and rushed for a team season-high 93 yards on 15 carries while catching three passes for 67 yards. At his usual cornerback position, he recorded 10 tackles, one pass breakup and one forced fumble. He also returned three punts for 30 yards and two kickoffs for 46 yards. In all, Woodson appeared in an astounding 137 total plays, approximately 90 percent of the game.
Woodson is the fourth individual with Purdue ties to be selected to the Hall of Fame, following quarterbacks Len Dawson (1987) and Bob Griese (1990) and running back and assistant coach Hank Stram (2003).
A native of Fort Wayne, Ind., Woodson also rank track at Purdue and twice earned All-America honors in the hurdles. He was a five-time Big Ten champion and still holds school records in the 60- and 110-meter hurdles. He was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
After being selected in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 10 overall), Woodson played professionally for 17 seasons. He had stints with the Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders. Woodson finished his pro career with 725 tackles and 71 interceptions (the third-most in league history), with 12 interceptions returned for touchdowns. His 1,483 interception return yards are an NFL record.
Woodson reached the Super Bowl three times with three teams - XXX with the Steelers, XXXV with the Ravens and XXXVII with the Raiders - one of only four players in NFL history to do so. He was named to 11 Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro honors six times, as a cornerback, kick returner and safety. In 1994, Woodson was one of only five active players to be selected to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team.
Enshrinement of the class of 2009 is scheduled for Aug. 8 at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.