Versatile DB Charles Woodson Enters Hall of Fame
For 18 seasons, whether playing cornerback or safety, Charles Woodson was as dependable as they come.
And now he has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The 1998 Defensive Rookie of the Year with Oakland who won Defensive Player of the Year honors 11 years later as a Packer, Woodson never cared where he played as long as he was on the field.
The former Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers defensive back also was holding the shoes and brace he wore after he was born with clubfoot.
Growing up in Fremont, Ohio, he overcame the deformity and went on to become a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, who will be inducted about 100 miles from his hometown on Sunday.
“My older brother and my sister always tell a story of me kind of crawling around and dragging these behind and my brother would grab my arms and pull me,” Woodson said in an interview with The Associated Press, holding tiny white shoes attached to a brace. “I would be crying because I couldn’t move around, but once he started dragging me around, I’m kind of part of the crew because he’s making me a part of the fun.
“And, that would make me smile.”
The 44-year-old Woodson has brought joy to countless people in Ohio, Michigan, California, Wisconsin and beyond with his play on the field and his mission off it to build a legacy that transcends sports.
He donated $2 million in 2009 to the new University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital, creating the Charles Woodson Clinical Research Fund.
Woodson aimed to attract the world’s best researchers to help children.
“The opportunity to help save lives, I think that’s really at the root of it,” he said.
With the 20 members of the class of 2020 now enshrined, the Pro Football Hall of Fame turns its attention to inducting eight men from the class of 2021.
Peyton Manning, John Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson and Alan Faneca are being inducted as modern-day players at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Tom Flores will enter in the coaching category, Drew Pearson in the senior category.
Bill Nunn, who was recognized posthumously in April from the contributors, will be featured in a video tribute.