Charles Woodson, Raiders legend, voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Marcus White
·3 min read
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Raiders legend Woodson voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Charles Woodson will be fitted for a gold jacket.

The legendary defensive back was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, his first time on the ballot following an 18-year career split between the Raiders and Green Bay Packers.

Woodson was the first individual revealed into the Class of 2021 during NFL Honors on Saturday night.

Woodson spent 11 seasons in Silver and Black, including the first eight of his career as he earned a reputation as one of the NFL's most dominant defensive backs. The last defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, Woodson immediately lived up to the hype after the Raiders drafted him No. 4 overall out of Michigan.

In 1998, Woodson won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, made the Pro Bowl and tied for the team lead in interceptions. The following season, he was First-Team All-Pro for the first of four times in his career. Woodson made four Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams within his first four seasons in Oakland, but injuries limited him to just 39 of 64 possible games during the next four years. After he played hurt in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders dramatically declined, and Woodson signed with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent in 2006.

Woodson caught a second wind with the Packers, recording at least seven interceptions in four of his seven seasons in Green Bay. He had a career-high nine picks in 2009, which was his best season as a professional. Woodson was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and won his first and only Super Bowl. A broken collarbone kept him out of the second half of Super Bowl XLV, and he emotionally addressed his teammates at halftime of the 31-25 victory.

"I just asked the guys to understand how much I wanted it," Woodson said.

Woodson lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy with his right arm while his left was in a sling is one of the enduring memories of his career, but the Packers released him just three years after that game in 2013, setting the stage a homecoming with the Raiders.

Playing safety rather than cornerback, Woodson signed a series of three one-year deals and closed out his career just as he began, wearing No. 24 in Silver and Black. Woodson earned his ninth and final Pro Bowl nod in 2015, but he retired after that season with something far more important.

Closure.

“Those three seasons really closed out my career the right way," Woodson told Silver and Black Pride on Friday. "If I didn’t go back, I think there would be a love-hate relationship for the fans. But it was the right decision and I’ll always be part of the Raider Nation.”

Woodson is tied for fifth all-time in interceptions (65), and his 205 passes defensed are third-most since the stat was first recorded in 1994, according to Stats Perform. Darrell Green is the only defensive back to play more games (295) than Woodson (254).

Now, his legendary career will be commemorated forever in Canton, Ohio.