Rod Woodson left Purdue the same way he entered it - as an All American. He came to West Lafayette from Fort Wayne (Indiana) Snider High School as a Parade All American recruit and finished his college career as a consensus All-America defensive back.
Woodson, who played for the Boilermakers from 1983 to 1986, was a first team All-Big Ten selection his sophomore, junior and senior seasons - one of only four players in school history to be honored three times. He tied the Purdue career record with 11 interceptions (since broken and tied for third through the 2015 season) and owned the record for interceptions returned for touchdowns with three (since broken and now second). Woodson presently ranks second in career solo tackles (320), fourth in total tackles (445) and ninth in pass breakups (29). He left Purdue as the career leader with 1,535 kickoff return yards, which now ranks fifth.
In his final collegiate game Nov. 22, 1986, Woodson played both ways in the Boilermakers' 17-15 Old Oaken Bucket victory over Indiana. He started at tailback 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 plays, approximately 90 percent of the game.
In the 1987 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers picked Woodson with the 10th overall pick. He played defensive back for 17 seasons with the Steelers (1987-96), San Francisco 49ers (1997), Baltimore Ravens (1998-2001) and Oakland Raiders (2002-03). He retired with 71 interceptions, the third-most in NFL history, a then-league-record 1,483 interception return yards, and league records of 12 interception returns for touchdowns and 32 fumble recoveries. Woodson was selected to 11 Pro Bowls, and, in 1994, he was one of only five active players to be selected to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team.
Woodson is one of only 10 players in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl three times with three teams: XXX with the Steelers, XXXV with the Ravens (a 34-7 win over the New York Giants) and XXXVII with the Raiders. He was the 1993 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Woodson also ran track at Purdue and twice earned All-America honors in the hurdles. He was a five-time Big Ten champion and still boasts school records in the 60- and 110-meter hurdles.
Following his retirement from the NFL, Woodson worked as an analyst for the NFL Network and Big Ten Network from 2003 to 2011. He spent the 2011 season as the Raiders' cornerbacks coach before resuming his broadcasting career with Westwood One as a college football analyst in 2012 and 2013. Woodson interned with the Steelers in training camp in 2013 and participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship Program with the Denver Broncos during the 2014 offseason. Woodson returned to Oakland as assistant defensive backs coach in 2015.
Woodson was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Woodson's Purdue Statistics