Charles Woodson Hall of Fame Profile: 2021 Inductee

In the list of 15 modern-era candidates on the ballot, Charles Woodson was an easy selection into the NFL‘s Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021. Now that Woodson has been officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, we recap his career in Green Bay and Oakland and see where he stands in the record book.

Charles Woodson has been destined to land in the Hall of Fame since college

Every once in a while, you watch a player and say to the person sitting next to you, “That guy is special.” Ever since he was a two-way threat at the University of Michigan, Woodson was that guy.

He started all but one of his games at Michigan. During his junior season, he became the third Michigan player to receive the Heisman Trophy and is the only defensive player of all-time to receive the award. Woodson led the Wolverines to an undefeated season and a share of the National Championship in the Rose Bowl.

Related | John Lynch Hall of Fame Profile: 2021 Inductee

In that same season, he won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award. He was also named first-team All-Big Ten, first-team All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year during this season.

Charles Woodson finished his college football career with 16 interceptions and 30 passes defended.

Woodson will go down as one of the greats to play for both the Raiders and Packers

Both the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers are some of the most respected organizations in the NFL. Both helped to shape and mold the NFL into what we know and love today. The fans will forever love players who made their name while wearing either silver and black or green and yellow. 

If you want an example of where Charles Woodson stands in the pantheon of Raiders’ greats, look at their last game in Oakland. At the final game in the Oakland Coliseum before the relocation to Las Vegas, every notable player and figurehead of the franchise was in attendance. It was Charles Woodson who was chosen by Raiders’ owner Mark Davis to light the torch that bears his father’s name, Al Davis, for the last time in this stadium.

Related | Who is David Baker? President of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame

The significance of that can’t be understated as it was Davis who drafted Woodson with the fourth overall pick in 1998.

From 1998 to 2005, Woodson played in 106 games. He intercepted 17 passes, deflected 64 attempts, and had 469 tackles (396 solo). Woodson was named to the Pro Bowl from 1998 to 2001 and was a first-team All-Pro in 1999 and 2001. He was nominated to the second-team All-Pro in 2000 and was the 1998 NFL Rookie of the Year.

During his initial stint in Oakland, Woodson also helped take Oakland back to the Super Bowl. They would eventually come up short to former coach Jon Gruden who was famously “traded” to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Charles Woodson became a Hall of Famer while in Green Bay

While his time in Oakland was split by seven seasons in Lambeau, the Raiders’ fans will always claim Woodson as a member of the Raiders first. 

After missing the majority of the 2005 season due to a broken leg, Woodson hit free agency. The Green Bay Packers made an offer he could not refuse and scooped him up on a seven-year contract worth $52.7 million. While initially uncertain of wanting to play in Green Bay, Woodson quickly found a love of the team — success followed. 

From 2006 to 2012, Woodson played the cornerback position like few had before him. He played in 100 games for the Packers, intercepting 38 passes, deflecting 99, and recording 467 tackles (384 solo).

He holds franchise records for the most touchdowns on interceptions (9) and the most defensive touchdowns (10). Woodson was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-2011) while with the Packers and led the league in interceptions in 2009 and 2011. 

The 2009 season was arguably his best as a pro. Woodson was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. The very next season, he helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV victory.

At 36 years old, Woodson still had years left in him. The Black Hole sucked him back for one last ride.

Charles Woodson finished his incredible career with three seasons in Oakland

Now a step slower, Charles Woodson transitioned to safety. Here, his incredible ability to diagnose a play and read a play allowed him to ballhawk in the twilight of his career. 

In his final three seasons, Woodson played in all 16 games. He recorded 294 tackles (217 solo), deflected 20 passes, and intercepted 10 more. All of this brought his 18-year career total to 1,220 tackles (997 solo), 183 passes deflected, 33 forced fumbles, 65 interceptions, and 11 interceptions returned for a touchdown.

Woodson is one of three players in NFL history with 25 or more interceptions with two teams. He is a member of the 2000s NFL All-Decade team, four-time first-team All-Pro, nine-time Pro Bowl selection, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and played in a Pro Bowl in three decades (1990s, 2000s, and 2010s).

Charles Woodson heads to the Hall of Fame

While there are 15 modern-era finalists, only two I’ve believed are unanimous selections. Those two unanimous selections are Indianapolis Colts’ QB Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson. Both players sit on the Mount Rushmore of their positions and are now two of the five nominees. There is nothing that Charles Woodson failed to accomplish in his career.

Woodson climbed the NFL’s apex, set records, personified being a professional, and never had a lull in his career. Even in his final season, he was selected to his ninth and final Pro Bowl.

Charles Woodson adds another accomplishment to his accolades — Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. The only question remaining is which organization will his bust represent for the rest of time in Canton, Ohio?

Want more NFL news and analysis?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay up to date with all things around the NFL. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis concerning the 2020 season and beyond.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

FEATURED
PFN NEWSLETTER

Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!