Rod Woodson Gets A Hall Pass To Canton

July 27, 2009: On Aug. 8, Rod Woodson will officially be inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio, along with an esteemed class that includes Bob Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas and Ralph Wilson Jr., the founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills. The cornerback/safety out of Purdue spent ten seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1987-96), one year with the San Francisco 49ers (1997), four with the Baltimore Ravens (1998-2001) including the Super Bowl XXXV title team, and two with the Oakland Raiders before retiring following the 2003 season. His stats include 11 Pro Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl games, and in 1994 he was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Woodson spoke with members of the media on July 27.

What are your feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Ron Woodson: "It's an honor and a privilege. When you look at the history of pro football, to be one of about only 200 guys among all those who played the game to be inducted, it's amazing. To be named in the same category as Joe Namath, Ray Nitschke . . . I'm honored and humbly accept it."

• How would you compare yourself to defensive back Deion Sanders?
Woodson: I don't like to compare players. [Deion and I] were similar but in a lot of ways different. I considered myself an all-around defensive back. I would do whatever I had to do. I worked hard and took pride in my craft. I think we both felt we were better than anyone in front of us.

What do you think about NFL games in Mexico City?
Woodson: [International games] are good for the league. It's good to promote the league around the world. The guys are all for it. They like to play in front of different crowds and in different environments.

You had 71 career interceptions and [an NFL record] 12 returned for touchdowns. What made you so good at that?
Woodson: I always ran scared! I tried not to get knocked down by offensive linemen [who become defensive players when Woodson caught an interception).

You won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, but you are associated more with the Pittsburgh Steelers. What are your thoughts about your ten seasons in Pittsburgh?
Woodson: Those years defined my career. I had four great seasons in Baltimore and I'm proud of the Super Bowl ring. We had great teams in Pittsburgh. We went to the Super Bowl [XXX, losing to the Dallas Cowboys], but never had the opportunity to win.

Who was the toughest wide receiver you ever faced?
Woodson: Webster Slaughter [who played in the NFL from 1986-1998]. His first six years in the league he was with the Cleveland Browns, so I had to face him twice a year for six years! He was quick. I didn't like those quick, little receivers.

What are your thoughts about the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2009?

Woodson: It's an honor to be with such great men. They were tremendous athletes. They represented the league [with great honor] on and off the field. They were respected as athletes and as family men. Back to Home Page