Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson is odds on to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Drafter by the Raiders with the 4th pick of the 1998 draft. Woodson went on to play 18 years in the NFL, playing 254 games – the most for a safety in league history.
A Fast Start
Woodson was highly touted coming out of Michigan College. His efforts on both sides of the ball won him the Heisman Award; The only predominantly defensive player to ever win it. In his first season in Oakland he started every game, finishing the season with 5 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and one pick six. Earning him the Rookie of the Year award and his first of 9 Pro Bowl selections.
Following on from his great start Woodson quickly became a key part of Oakland’s defence. Playing every game his first 4 years. The Raiders were a team not to be messed with, making the playoffs three consecutive years from 2000-02. Ending in a trip to the Super Bowl XXXVII. An interception by Woodson wasn’t enough for the Raiders to defeat fellow Hall of Fame Nominee Ronde Barber and the Buccs 48-21.
Following a phenomenal start to his career; Pro Bowl appearances in each of his first 4 years, being voted an All Pro two of those. Injuries started to cause major issues for Woodson. Missing 22 games between the 02-05 season caused his stock to fall and he was eventually let go by the Raiders at the end of 2005 after only playing 6 games.
To Green Bay and Back
Despite his amazing start to his career, mainly thanks to his injury issues, Woodson wasn’t in great demand following his release from the Raiders. The one team that was interested, allegedly the only one, was the Packers. Green Bay GM Ted Thompson, who sadly passed away this January, signed him to a 7 year deal.
Woodson played 7 seasons in Green Bay. Seamlessly becoming the defensive linchpin he was in Oakland, for the Packers. He lead the league in Interceptions twice; in 2009 with 9 and 2011 with 7.
Undoubtedly the highlight of Woodson’s career, was again reaching the Super Bowl in February 2011. This time it went to script for Woodson, the Packers coming out 31-25 winners over the Steelers in Dallas.
Finishing his 7 year tender with the Packers in 2012 when he only played 7 games, an injury derailing another of his seasons. As well as a Super Bowl ring he added 4 Pro Bowl appearances and 2 All Pro selections to his impressive CV while in Green Bay.
A Return to the Raiders
Following his successful stint in Green Bay Woodson returned to his Raiders roots. Once again becoming a key player in silver and black. He spent his final 3 seasons in Oakland, retiring at the end of the 2015 season. He finished his final season with 5 interceptions, the oldest player ever to do so at the age of 39.
Hall of Fame Bound?
Charles Woodson is one of the favourites to get his nod to Canton this weekend on his first attempt. His records speak for themselves: Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl winner, 9 Pro Bowls, 4 time 1st team All Pro, 4 times 2nd team All Pro, most appearances ever of any safety and tied first for all time defensive touchdowns (13).