Rod Woodson

Roderick Kevin Woodson (born March 10, 1965) is a former American football player who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 17 seasons. He had a 10-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a key member of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV championship team that beat the New York Giants. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, wearing the jersey number 26 throughout his career. He holds the NFL record for fumble recoveries (32) by a defensive player, and interceptions returned for touchdown (12), and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. His 71 career interceptions is the third-most in NFL history. He was an inductee of the Class of 2009 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 8, 2009. Woodson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Rod played most of his career as a cornerback then switched to safety during the later part of his career.

From his retirement in 2003 to February 2011, Woodson worked as an analyst for the NFL Network (on NFL Total Access and Thursday Night Football) and for the Big Ten Network. He spent the 2011 season as the Raiders' cornerbacks coach. He then returned to broadcasting, working for Westwood One as an analyst on college football (2012) and the NFL (2013) before resuming his coaching career in 2014.

Rod Woodson
refer to caption
Woodson in February 2019
No. 26
Position:Safety
Cornerback
Personal information
Born:March 10, 1965 (age 54)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:R. Nelson Snider
(Fort Wayne, Indiana)
College:Purdue
NFL Draft:1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles:1,049
Interceptions:71
Touchdowns:17
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

College career

Woodson accepted a full scholarship to play football at Purdue University, in part because of a desire to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.[1] He played primarily as a cornerback and kick returner, but also saw time on offense as a running back and wide receiver. He was named an All-American defensive back in 1985 and 1986; he was named an All-American returner in 1986 and was a three time All-Big Ten first team selection. In his final collegiate game, Woodson gained over 150 combined rushing and receiving yards, in addition to making ten tackles and forcing a fumble, leading Purdue to a victory over arch-rival Indiana.

Woodson left Purdue with 13 individual records, tying the school record with eleven career interceptions. He currently is ranked in the top ten in career interceptions, solo tackles, total tackles, passes deflected, and kickoff return yardage as a Boilermaker.[2]

Woodson was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.[2]

On December 11, 2014, the Big Ten Network included Woodson on "The Mount Rushmore of Purdue Football", as chosen by online fan voting. Woodson was joined in the honor by Drew Brees, Bob Griese, and Leroy Keyes.

On January 8, 2016, Woodson was selected for induction in the College Football Hall of Fame[3][4][5]

Track and field

In addition to his exploits on the gridiron, Woodson was also an accomplished track and field athlete at Purdue, and was twice awarded All-America honors. He finished second at the 1985 NCAA championships in the 55 meter hurdles and third at the 1987 NCAA championships in the 55 meter hurdles. Woodson held the NCAA 60 meter hurdles record for 10 years.[2] As of January 2009, he still holds the school records in both the 60 and 110 meter hurdles.[2] He earned five Big Ten championships while at Purdue.[6] In 1984, he qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 110 meter hurdles, but elected to continue his football career in the NFL after graduating from Purdue with a degree in criminal justice.[6]

Personal bests

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
60 meter hurdles 7.61 Indianapolis, Indiana March 7, 1987
60 meters 6.70 Ypsilanti, Michigan February 14, 1987
100 meters 10.26 Champaign, Illinois May 29, 1987
110 meter hurdles 13.29 Irvine, California June 14, 1987

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 0 in
(1.83 m)
198 lb
(90 kg)
4.33 s 3.98 s 36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 5 in
(3.18 m)
10 reps
All values from NFL Combine[7][8]

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Woodson in the first round (10th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft.[2][9] Although the Steelers wanted to draft Woodson to help rebuild their secondary, the team expected Woodson to be drafted before their turn at tenth overall. Head coach Chuck Noll instructed defensive coordinator Tony Dungy not to bother with a scouting report on Woodson due to his expected unavailability. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to draft Woodson after the Cleveland Browns traded for the San Diego Chargers' fifth overall pick and subsequently used selection to draft linebacker Mike Junkin.[10] The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Kelly Stouffer (sixth overall) who ultimately never played for the Cardinals due to a contract dispute. The Buffalo Bills were the last likely team to draft Woodson, but instead used the eighth overall pick to draft linebacker Shane Conlan.[11][12]

1987

Woodson missed training camp due to a contract holdout that lasted 95 days after he was unable to come to terms on a contract with the Steelers. Woodson was a World-Class 110-meter hurdler and ran track on the European track circuit during his contract holdout. Woodson had the fourth fastest 110-meter hurdle time in the world. He won the bronze medal at the 1987 USA Olympic festival, and won medals in several IAAF Grand Prix meetings in Europe. Woodson is one of only two athletes in history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and also earn a world ranking in the high hurdles.[13]

On October 28, 1987, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Woodson to a four-year, $1.80 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $700,000.[14][15] Woodson's contract holdout is the longest in the Pittsburgh Steelers' franchise history.

On November 8, 1987, Woodson made his professional regular season debut in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 17–16 victory at the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. He finished his debut with two kick returns for 48-yards and two punt returns for 12-yards. On November 22, 1987, Woodson made his first career interception off a pass Bengals' quarterback Boomer Esiason and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown during the Steelers' 30–16 win in Week 11.[16] He finished his rookie season in 1987 with 20 combined tackles in eight games and zero starts. Woodson also returned 13 kicks for 290-yards (22.3 YPR) and made 16 punt returns for 135-yards (8.4 YPR).[17]

1988

Woodson entered training camp in 1988 slated as the starting cornerback. Head coach Chuck Noll named Woodson a starting cornerback to begin the regular season, opposite fellow cornerbacks Dwayne Woodruff.[18] Woodson also retained kick and punt return duties in 1988. On October 9, 1988, Woodson returned a kick for a 92-yard touchdown during a 31–14 loss to the Phoenix Cardinals in Week 6. The touchdown was the first score of his career.[19] In Week 12, Woodson made his first career sack on Browns' quarterback Bernie Kosar in the Steelers' 27–7 loss to the Cleveland Browns.[20] Woodson started in all 16 games in 1988 and recorded 88 combined tackles, four interceptions, and was credited with half a sack.[21] He also returned 37 kicks for 850-yards and a touchdown (22.9 YPR) and 33 punts for 281-yards (8.5 YPR).

1989

On January 3, 1989, Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive coordinator Tony Dungy announced his resignation after they finished with a 5-11 record the previous season. The Steelers also fired four assistant coaches.[22]

Woodson and Dwayne Woodruff returned as the Steelers' starting cornerback tandem in 1989.[23] On November 19, 1989, Woodson returned a kickoff for an 84-yard touchdown during a 20–17 win against the San Diego Chargers.[24] Woodson started 15 games in 1989 and recorded 80 combined tackles and three interceptions.[21] He also returned 36 kickoffs for 982-yards (27.2 YPR) and one touchdown and had 29 punt returns for 207-yards (7.1 YPR).[25] The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the season third in the AFC Central with a 9–7 record and earned a wildcard berth. On December 31, 1989, Woodson started in his first career playoff game and had four kick returns for 74-yards during a 26–23 victory at the Houston Oilers in the AFC Wildcard Game. The following week, the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs after losing 24–23 to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round.

1990

The Pittsburgh Steelers promoted linebackers coach Dave Brazil to defensive coordinator after Rod Rust accepted the head coaching position with the New England Patriots. Head coach Chuck Noll retained Woodson as a starting cornerback in 1990, opposite D.J. Johnson.

On September 16, 1990, Woodson returned a punt from Oilers' punter Greg Montgomery for a 52-yard touchdown during a 20–9 victory against the Houston Oilers, marking the first punt return for a touchdown in his career.[26] On December 6, 1990, the Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly offered Woodson a three-year, $3 million contract extension. That contract would make Woodson the highest paid player in team history.[27] On December 20, 1990, it was announced that Woodson was selected to play in the 1991 Pro Bowl.[28] Woodson started in all 16 games in 1990 and recorded 66 combined tackles and five interceptions. He was voted first-team All-Pro in 1990.[21] Woodson had 35 kick returns for 764 return yards (21.8 YPR) and 38 punt returns for 398 return yards and a touchdown (10.4 YPR).

1991

Woodson and D.J. Johnson returned as the starting cornerback tandem in 1991.[29] Woodson was inactive for the Steelers' Week 13 victory against the Houston Oilers due to an injury. On November 28, 1991, Woodson recorded his first career solo sack on Cowboys' quarterback Steve Beuerlein in the Steelers' 20–10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.[30] On December 27, 1991, Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach Chuck Noll announced his decision to retire after the Steelers finished with a 7–9 record in 1991.[31] He started in 15 games in 1991 and recorded 73 combined tackles, an interception, and a sack. He also returned 44 kicks for 880 return yards (22.0 YPR) and had 28 punt returns for 320-yards (11.4 YPR).[21]

1992

On January 21, 1992, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced the hiring of former Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator Bill Cowher as their new head coach.[32] On January 31, 1992, Cowher announced the hiring of former New Orleans Saints' secondary coach Dom Capers as their new defensive coordinator.[33]

On May 19, 1992, it was reported that Woodson was one of nine NFL players to sue the National Football League for unrestricted free agency. Other players included Steve Beuerlein (Cowboys), Bobby Hebert (Saints), D. J. Dozier (Lions), Scott Mitchell (Dolphins), Jeff Dellenbach (Dolphins), Seth Joyner (Eagles), Clyde Simmons (Eagles), and Kevin Ross (Chiefs).[34] Head coach Bill Cowher retained Woodson and D.J. Johnson as the starting cornerback tandem in 1992.[35]

He started in the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opener against the Houston Oilers and made two interceptions off pass attempts by Oilers' quarterback Warren Moon in their 29–24 victory.[36] On October 25, 1992, Woodson returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown as the Steelers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27–3.[37] On November 1, 1992, Woodson delivered a hit to Oilers' quarterback Warren Moon on a cornerback blitz during a 21–20 win against the Houston Oilers in Week 8. The hit gave Moon a concussion and forced him to leave the game.[38] In Week 14, he made a career-high two sacks on Bears' quarterback Jim Harbaugh during a 30–6 loss to the Chicago Bears.[39] On December 24, 1992, it was announced that Woodson was selected to play in the 1993 Pro Bowl.[40] He started in all 16 games in 1992 and recorded 100 combined tackles, a career-high six sacks, and four interceptions.[21]

1993

On March 1, 1993, the NFL implemented unrestricted free agency. Woodson received an $1.11 million settlement from the league after being one of 15 plaintiffs to sue the league in a class action antitrust lawsuit.[41]

Woodson and D.J. Johnson returned as the starting cornerback tandem for the fourth consecutive season and started alongside safeties Darren Perry and Carnell Lake.[42] He started in the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opener at the San Francisco 49ers and intercepted two passes by quarterback Steve Young in their 24–13 victory.[43]

On September 18, 1993, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Woodson to a four-year, $12 million contract. The contract made Woodson the NFL's highest paid defensive back.[44] In Week 4, he made two interceptions off passes by Falcons' quarterbacks Bobby Hebert and Billy Joe Tolliver during a 45–17 victory against the Atlanta Falcons. On October 17, 1993, Woodson intercepted two passes by Saints' quarterback Wade Wilson and returned one for a 63-yard touchdown in the Steelers' 37–14 win against the New Orleans Saints.[45] Woodson started in all 16 games in 1993 and recorded 95 combined tackles, a career-high eight interceptions, two sacks, and a touchdown.[21] He also made 15 kick returns for 294 return yards (19.6 YPR) and 42 punt returns for 338 return yards (8.0 YPR).

1994

Woodson returned as the No. 1 starting cornerback in 1994, opposite Deon Figures. He played under defensive coordinator Dom Capers and assistant coaches Dick LeBeau and Marvin Lewis.[46] On November 14, 1994, Woodson intercepted pass by Bills' quarterback Jim Kelly and returned it for a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter of the Steelers' 23–10 win against the Buffalo Bills in Week 11.[47] Woodson started in 15 games in 1994 and recorded 67 tackles, four interceptions, three sacks, and a touchdown.[21] He also made 15 kick returns for a total of 365 return yards (24.3 YPR) and 39 punt returns for 319 return yards (8.1 YPR).[48]

1995

On January 26, 1995, the Pittsburgh Steelers promoted defensive backs coach Dick LeBeau to defensive coordinator after Dom Capers accepted the head coaching position with the Carolina Panthers.[49]

Woodson started as the No.1 cornerbacks to begin the 1995 regular season, alongside Willie Williams. On September 3, 1995, Woodson sustained a torn ACL when his foot got caught in the artificial turf at Three Rivers Stadium when he attempted to change direction and arm tackle Detroit Lions' running back Barry Sanders in the first quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opening 23–20 victory against the Detroit Lions.[50] Steelers' safety Carnell Lake replaced Woodson at cornerback during his injury hiatus.[51] On September 11, 1995, Woodson underwent reconstructive surgery and had his ACL in his left knee replaced with a petella tendon from his right knee.[52]

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished first in the AFC Central with an 11–5 record and earned a first round bye. They defeated the Buffalo Bills 40–21 in the AFC Divisional Round and defeated the Indianapolis Colts 20–16 in the AFC Championship Game. On January 28, 1996, Woodson made his return from injury and played in Super Bowl XXX as the Steelers lost 27–17 to the Dallas Cowboys. Woodson became the first player to return from reconstructive knee surgery in the same season and returned after only 19 weeks. Woodson was limited to 12 snaps in Super Bowl XXX and was primarily used on third down. During the game, he broke up a pass intended for Michael Irvin and immediately hopped up and pointed at his reconstructed knee.[53]

1996

On August 12, 1996, Woodson declined the Pittsburgh Steelers' three-year, $9 million contract extension offer and requested a long-term contract for four or five-years. They went on to offer Woodson a five-year, $10 million contract extension and a five-year, $13.5 million incentive-laden contract with a signing bonus of $500,000 included.[54] Woodson returned as the starting cornerback alongside Willie Williams, but was relieved of kick and punt return duties.[55]

He started in the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opener at the Jacksonville Jaguars and collected a season-high eight combined tackles and made an interception in their 24–9 loss. On September 8, 1996, Woodson recorded five combined tackles and returned an interception by Ravens' quarterback Vinny Testaverde during a 31–17 win against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2.[56] In Week 11, Woodson recorded five combined tackles and made a season-high two interceptions off pass attempts by Bengals' quarterback Jeff Blake during a 34–24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.[57] He started in all 16 games in 1996 and recorded 71 combined tackles, a career-high six interceptions, a touchdown, and a sack.[58]

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished atop the AFC Central with a 10–6 record. On January 5, 1997, Woodson recorded seven combined tackles in his last appearance as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They went on to lose 28–3 to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.

Free agency

After the 1996 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers offered Woodson a four-year, $7.2 million contract with a signing bonus of $1 million. Woodson became an unrestricted free agent in 1997 after he was unable to agree to a contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Woodson was plagued by injuries in 1996, including a strained Achilles tendon, a sprained knee, and an injury to his back that substantially hurt his value on the free agent market. On April 19, 1997, Woodson declined a four-year, $7 million contract offer from the Pittsburgh Steelers hours before the 1997 NFL Draft. The Steelers subsequently drafted Maryland cornerback Chad Scott in the first round (24th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft and ended negotiations with Woodson.[59]

During the offseason, Woodson held a workout at Purdue that was attended by ten teams interested in signing him, including the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cincinnati Bengals offered Woodson a three-year contract reportedly worth between $1.5 million and $2 million per season.[60]

San Francisco 49ers

1997

On July 17, 1997, the San Francisco 49ers signed Woodson to a three-year contract.[61][60] Head coach Steve Mariucci named Woodson a starting cornerback on the 49ers' depth chart to begin the regular season, opposite Darnell Walker.[62] On September 14, 1997, Woodson recorded two combined tackles, forced a fumble, and made a career-high three interceptions off passes by Saints' quarterback Danny Wuerffel during a 33–7 victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.[63] In Week 10, he collected a season-high eight combined tackles in the 49ers' 17–10 victory against the Dallas Cowboys. He started in all 16 games in 1997 and recorded 46 combined tackles, three interceptions, and a forced fumble.[64]

The San Francisco 49ers finished first in the NFC West with a 13–3 record and earned a first round bye. They defeated the Minnesota Vikings 38–22 in the NFC Divisional Round. The following week, Woodson made four combined tackles as the 49ers were defeated by the Green Bay Packers 23–10. On February 9, 1998, the San Francisco 49ers cut Woodson and former Steelers' teammate Kevin Greene in an effort to free up salary cap space.[65]

Baltimore Ravens

1998

On February 21, 1998, the Baltimore Ravens signed Woodson to a three-year, $5.70 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $3 million.[66][67] Woodson was reunited with Ravens' defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis who was a linebacker coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Head coach Ted Marchibroda named Woodson a starting cornerback to begin the regular season, alongside Duane Starks.[68] On September 4, 1998, it was reported that Woodson entered stage 1 of the league's substance abuse program after refusing to take a drug test the previous month. It was reported that Woodson became infuriated after he was randomly selected to take a drug test on two consecutive days. His refusal automatically counted as a failed test although he subsequently relented and passed the test the next day.[69]

On September 13, 1998, Woodson recorded a season-high 11 combined tackles, made two interceptions, and returned one for a touchdown during a 24–10 win at the New York Jets in Week 2. Woodson intercepted a pass by Jets'quarterback Glenn Foley, that was intended for wide receiver Dedric Ward, and returned it for a 60-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.[70] On November 8, 1998, Woodson made five combined tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown during the Ravens' 13–10 win against the Oakland Raiders. Woodson intercepted a pass by Raiders' quarterback Donald Hollas, that was intended for wide receiver Tim Brown, and returned it for an 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter.[71] He started in all 16 games in 1998 and recorded 88 combined tackles, six interceptions, and two touchdowns.[72] On December 28, 1998, the Baltimore Ravens fired head coach Ted Marchibroda after the Ravens finished the season with a 6–10 record.[73]

1999

On January 19, 1999, the Baltimore Ravens hired former Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator Brian Billick as their new head coach.[74] Billick retained Marvin Lewis as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator and hired Mike Smith, Jack Del Rio, and Rex Ryan as defensive position coaches. Defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis opted to move Woodson to free safety after the Baltimore Ravens drafted cornerback Chris McAlister in the first round (10th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. Woodson was named the starting free safety and was used to make checks in coverage and help stabilize a young secondary that also included cornerbacks Duane Starks and strong safety Kim Herring.[75][76]

On November 7, 1999, Woodson recorded two combined tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown during a 41–9 win at the Cleveland Browns. Woodson intercepted a pass by Browns' backup quarterback Ty Detmer and returned it for a 66-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.[77] In Week 11, he made four combined tackles and made his 50th career interception off a pass by Bengals' quarterback Jeff Blake during a 34–31 victory at the Cincinnati Bengals.[78] On December 5, 1999, Woodson made eight combined tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Ravens' 41-14 win against the Tennessee Titans. Woodson intercepted a pass by Titans' quarterback Steve McNair, that was intended for wide receiver Kevin Dyson, and returned it for a 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.[79] In Week 14, he collected a season-high nine combined tackles during a 31–24 win at the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started in all 16 games in 1999 and recorded 66 combined tackles, seven interceptions, and two touchdowns.[21]

2000

Woodson and Kim Herring returned as the starting safety tandem in 2000. Woodson became the veteran presence and a mentor to a young secondary. In Week 6, he made three tackles and an interception during a 15–10 win at the Jacksonville Jaguars. It became his third consecutive game with an interception. In Week 17, he collected a season-high 11 combined tackles and forced a fumble in the Ravens' 34–20 win against the New York Jets.[80] On December 14, 2000, Woodson was selected to the 2001 Pro Bowl, marking the 10th Pro Bowl selection of his career.[81] Woodson started in all 16 games in 2000 and recorded 74 combined tackles, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

The Baltimore Ravens finished second in the AFC Central with a 12–4 record and defeated the Denver Broncos 21–3 in the AFC Divisional Round. On January 7, 2001, Woodson recorded 11 combined tackles in the Ravens' 24–10 win at the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round. The following week, the Ravens went on to defeat the Oakland Raiders 16–3 in the AFC Championship Game. On January 28, 2001, Woodson recorded six combined tackles as the Ravens defeated the New York Giants 34–7 in Super Bowl XXXV.[82]

2001

On March 1, 2001, Woodson was one of seven players released by the Baltimore Ravens.[83] He became an unrestricted free agent after the Baltimore Ravens declined an option to retain him.[84] On May 7, 2001, the Baltimore Ravens signed Woodson to a five-year contract.[85] Head coach Brian Billick retained Woodson as the starting free safety. Woodson started alongside strong safety Corey Harris in 2001.

In Week 4, he collected a season-high ten combined tackles and made an interception during a 26–7 win against the Tennessee Titans. On December 2, 2001, Woodson made two combined tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Ravens' 39–27 win against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12. Woodson intercepted a pass by Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning, that was intended for wide receiver Marvin Harrison, and returned it for a 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.[86] He started in all 16 games in 2001 and recorded 74 combined tackles, three interceptions, forced a fumble, and scored a touchdown.[21] The Baltimore Ravens finished second in their division with a 10–6 record, but were eliminated from the playoffs after a 27–10 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round. Woodson finished the game with ten combined tackles (eight solo) and a pass deflection against his former team.[87]

2002

On February 29, 2002, the Baltimore Ravens released Woodson in a salary cap related maneuver.

Oakland Raiders

On May 1, 2002, the Oakland Raiders signed Woodson to a six-year contract.[88] Head coach Bill Callahan named Woodson the starting free safety to begin the regular season, alongside strong safety Derrick Gibson.[89]

On September 28, 2002, Woodson recorded four combined tackles, made a career-high three interceptions, and returned one for a touchdown in the Raiders' 52–25 win against the Tennessee Titans. He intercepted a pass by Titans' quarterback Steve McNair, that was intended for tight end Frank Wycheck, and returned it for an 82-yard touchdown in the third quarter.[90] On November 11, 2002, Woodson recorded four combined tackles, deflected a pass, and returned an interception for the final touchdown of his career in the Raiders' 34–10 win at the Denver Broncos in Week 9. Woodson intercepted a pass by Broncos' quarterback Brian Griese, that was originally intended for running back Clinton Portis, and returned it for a 98-yard touchdown in the second quarter.[91] He started in all 16 games in 2002 and recorded 82 combined tackles (70 solo), a career-high eight interceptions, seven pass deflections, and a touchdown.[92] On January 2, 2002, it was announced that Woodson was selected to play in the 2002 Pro Bowl.[93]

The Oakland Raiders finished first in the AFC West with an 11–5 record and earned a first round bye. They reached Super Bowl XXXVII after defeating the New York Jets 30–10 in the AFC Divisional Round and defeating the Tennessee Titans 41–26 in the AFC Championship Game. On January 26, 2002, Woodson recorded eight combined tackles and deflected a pass as the Raiders lost Super Bowl XXXVII 48–21 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2003

Woodson and Derrick Gibson returned as the starting safety duo in 2003. In Week 3, he collected a season-high nine combined tackles during a 31–10 loss at the Denver Broncos. On November 16, 2003, Woodson made five combined tackles, deflected two passes, and made the last interception of his career during a 28–18 win against the Minnesota Vikings. His final interception came off a pass by Vikings' quarterback Daunte Culpepper. On November 26, 2003, the Oakland Raiders placed Woodson on injured reserve due to a chronic injury to his left knee. He underwent surgery the following month. Woodson finished the season with 51 combined tackles (40 solo), two interceptions, and a pass deflection in ten games and ten starts.[94]

2004

On July 28, 2004, the Oakland Raiders released Woodson after he failed a physical after undergoing knee surgery.[95]

NFL records and accomplishments

Woodson is among the NFL's all-time leaders in games played as a defensive back. In his 17 NFL seasons, Woodson recorded 71 interceptions, 1,483 interception return yards, 32 fumble recoveries (15 offensive and 17 defensive), 137 fumble return yards, 4,894 kickoff return yards, 2,362 punt return yards, and 17 touchdowns (12 interception returns, 1 fumble return, 2 kickoff returns, 2 punt returns). He holds the league record for interceptions returned for touchdown with 12, and is tied with 11 other players for the record for most fumble recoveries in a single game (3). His 1,483 interception return yards is the second most in NFL history (Ed Reed has 1,590 yards). His 32 fumble recoveries are a record among defensive players. His 71 interceptions rank third all time.

Woodson was named to the Pro Bowl eleven times, a record for his position. He was also the first player to earn trips to the Pro Bowl at cornerback, safety and kick returner.[96] He was named 1993's NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He was also a 7-time All-Pro selection. Woodson finished second to Darrell Green in the 1988 NFL Fastest Man Contest.[97]

In 1994, he was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team, one of only five active players to be named to the team. The others were Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Reggie White and Ronnie Lott. In 1999, he was ranked number 87 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. The College Football News also honored him as one of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.

In 2007, he was ranked number 22 on USA Today list of the 25 best NFL players of the past 25 years.[96]

On January 31, 2009, Woodson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.[98] Woodson named his friend and business associate Tracy Foster as his presenter. Foster runs Woodson's car dealership in Pittsburgh.[99]

Coaching career

Woodson coached the defense at Valley Christian Senior High in Dublin, California along with former Raider John Parrella. He was also the head coach of the women's Varsity Basketball team.

The Raiders hired Woodson as their cornerbacks coach on February 14, 2011. He (along with most of Hue Jackson's Raiders staff) was not retained following the 2011 season. On June 12, 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that Woodson would be serving as an intern coach. On February 9, 2015, it was announced that Woodson would be returning to the Raiders as an assistant defensive backs coach under head coach Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr and defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson. On March 9, 2017, following Robertson's firing earlier that offseason, Woodson was promoted back to cornerbacks coach alongside new safeties coach Brent Vieselmeyer. Woodson was fired following the 2017 season, after Jon Gruden was hired as head coach.

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
NFL record
Team won the Super Bowl
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Bold Career high
Interceptions Fumbles Punt Returns Kickoff Returns
Year Team GP Int Yds TD Lng FF FR Yds TD PR Yds TD Lng KR Yds TD Lng Avg
1987 PIT 8 1 45 1 45 0 2 0 0 16 135 0 20 13 290 0 36 22.3
1988 PIT 16 4 98 0 29 1 3 2 0 33 281 0 28 37 850 1 92 23.0
1989 PIT 15 3 39 0 39 4 4 1 0 29 207 0 20 36 982 1 84 27.3
1990 PIT 16 5 67 0 34 4 1 0 0 38 398 1 52 35 764 0 49 21.8
1991 PIT 15 3 72 0 41 1 3 15 0 28 320 0 40 44 880 0 47 20.0
1992 PIT 16 4 90 0 57 4 1 9 0 32 364 1 80 25 469 0 32 18.8
1993 PIT 16 8 138 1 63 2 1 0 0 42 338 0 39 15 294 0 44 19.6
1994 PIT 15 4 109 2 37 3 1 0 0 39 319 0 42 15 365 0 54 24.3
1995 PIT 1 0 0 0 - 0 0 0 0
1996 PIT 16 6 121 1 43 0 3 42 1
1997 SF 14 3 81 0 41 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
1998 BAL 16 6 108 2 60 0 0 0 0
1999 BAL 16 7 195 2 66 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 7
2000 BAL 16 4 20 0 18 2 3 4 0
2001 BAL 16 3 57 1 47 1 1 0 0
2002 OAK 16 8 225 2 98 0 3 64 0
2003 OAK 10 2 18 0 13 0 1 0 0
Career 238 71 1,483 12 98 20 32 137 1 260 2,362 2 80 220 4,894 2 92 22.2

Personal life

Woodson was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and was the youngest of three siblings, with whom he had close relationships. His father, the late James Woodson, was African-American, and his mother, Linda Jo Doerflein, was Caucasian, of German descent[100]. His father was a laborer from Tennessee and his mother worked with the handicapped in Fort Wayne. Woodson attended R. Nelson Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His parents married in 1960 and had three sons, Joe, Jamie, and Rod. Woodson was raised in a two-story home in a predominantly black neighborhood. His family experienced harassment through his youth due to their mixed-race.[101]

From 1994 until 2008 Woodson held an annual youth football camp and activities, the Rod Woodson Youth Week, on the grounds of his former high school. This week-long camp featured current and former NFL players mentoring kids on football skills and the importance of education. There was a cheer camp, basketball game and concert. Woodson funded the majority of the week that also provided academic awards for camp goers and saw hundreds of kids throughout its existence. Woodson was also an outspoken Christian.

Woodson used to split his time between NFL Network studios in Los Angeles, his home in Pleasanton, and a cottage in Coldwater, Michigan. He was also part of the studio team for BBC Sport's NFL coverage in 2007, including Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLIII. In February 2011 he accepted the role as the defensive backs coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders (his former team).[102]

He played defensive back and a variety of offensive skill positions and was named Parade and USA Today All-American, all-state his junior and senior seasons. Woodson was named Indiana "Mr. Football" in 1982. In addition to football, he won both the high and low hurdles state championships in both his junior and senior seasons; and played varsity basketball his junior and senior seasons, making all-conference his senior year.

As of 2007, Woodson lives in Pleasanton, California with his wife and five children. He married his wife, Nikki Michelle, in 1992. The couple has five children, including two sons and three daughters. His sons are named Jairus and Demitrius and his daughters are named Nemiah, Marikah, and Tia.[103]

Incidents

On April 25, 1988, it was reported that Woodson was one of three men arrested for stealing $70 in a tip jar from McCaw's restaurant-bar in West Lafayette, Indiana. Charges were not filed.[104]

On September 23, 1988, Woodson and teammate Delton Hall were involved in a bar fight with another man in Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Police were called to Sessions Bar at 2:34AM due to a fight involving Woodson, Hall, and a man identified as Derrick Wilson. Hall stated the fight began over criticism about football. The rear window of Wilson's vehicle was broken during the altercation, but Woodson agreed to pay for damages. On September 29, 1988, the Pittsburgh Steelers stated both players had been privately reprimanded for their involvement.[105][106]

On June 13, 1989, Woodson was charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer after an altercation outside of a bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana.[107]

On May 19, 1992, Woodson was arrested in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana for battery due to an altercation with his brother, Jamie Woodson. On March 24, 1993, Woodson was found not guilty of battery by a jury.[108]

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External links

1986 College Football All-America Team

The 1986 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1986. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes five selectors as "official" for the 1986 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); (2) the Associated Press (AP) selected based on the votes of sports writers at AP newspapers; (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA); (4) the United Press International (UPI) selected based on the votes of sports writers at UPI newspapers; and (5) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC). Other notable selectors included Football News the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), Scripps Howard (SH), and The Sporting News (TSN).

1993 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1993 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 61st season as a professional sports franchise and as a member of the National Football League.

The Steelers looked to continue the progress made under second year head coach Bill Cowher. However, the team would take a slight step backwards, finishing 9–7 (three games behind the eventual AFC Central champion Houston Oilers). Despite that, the Steelers clinched the final wild card spot, making the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The team would lose to the Kansas City Chiefs 27–24 in overtime in the AFC Wild Card Round of the playoffs, in what is considered one of the best playoff games in NFL history even though the Steelers were on the losing end.

Notable about the season came in the second week, when the Steelers suffered a rare shutout loss to the Los Angeles Rams 27–0 in one of the team's last visit to the Los Angeles area in the foreseeable future. The day was highlighted by the emergence of Rams rookie Jerome Bettis running over the Steelers defense. Though no one knew it at the time, it would foreshadow what was to come with Bettis' career—as a member of the Steelers, who would acquire Bettis in a draft day trade with the Rams three years later.

1993 was also the season in which the Steelers began their policy of "blacking out" regular season contract negotiations. Early in the season the Steelers had reached contract extensions with Rod Woodson and Barry Foster and continued negotiations with other players. However, this led to discord in the locker room, and management felt that contract talk was taking the team's focus off of winning. At mid-season the Steelers broke off all contract negotiations, and have refused to negotiate contracts during the regular season since.

1994 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1994 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 62nd season as a professional sports franchise and as a member of the National Football League.

This season marked as their third consecutive trip to the playoffs under head coach Bill Cowher. For the second time in Cowher's three seasons as head coach of the Steelers the team was the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Pittsburgh won its first playoff game since 1989 with a win in the divisional playoffs over their division rival Cleveland Browns, but failed to advance to the Super Bowl after losing to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship Game.

1999 Baltimore Ravens season

The 1999 Baltimore Ravens season was the team's fourth year in the National Football League (NFL). The team won 8 games and lost 8 games, missing the playoffs. Then they played tough against the top division rival Jacksonville Jaguars and then trounced the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans and finish the season strong with an 8–8 record. This is also Brian Billick's first season as head coach of the Ravens after Ted Marchibroda retired after the 1998 season.

2000 Baltimore Ravens season

The 2000 Baltimore Ravens season was the franchise's fifth season in the National Football League (NFL) and the second under head coach Brian Billick.

The Ravens concluded their season with a 12–4 record, thus finishing in second place in the AFC Central, earning them a spot in the playoffs as a wild card team. The Ravens won three straight games in the 2000 AFC playoffs, culminating in a trip to Tampa, Florida for Super Bowl XXXV, where they defeated the New York Giants, 34–7. The team's defense, which set a league record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game regular season with 10.3 points per game, is considered among the greatest of all time.

Though just five seasons removed from their relocation from Cleveland, only two players (Matt Stover and Larry Webster) remained from the 1995 Cleveland Browns roster.

2001 Baltimore Ravens season

The 2001 Baltimore Ravens season was the franchise’s sixth season in the National Football League (NFL) and the third under head coach Brian Billick.

Fresh off their victory trip from Super Bowl XXXV, bad news struck the 2001 Ravens as running back Jamal Lewis suffered a knee injury in training camp and would miss the entire season. This weakened the Ravens’ running game and defense, and they also failed to equal their 12–4 record from 2000, instead going 10–6 but eventually reaching the postseason for the second consecutive year.

They easily shut down the Miami Dolphins, 20–3 in the Wild Card Round, but were unable to stop the 13–3 Pittsburgh Steelers, in the next round, due to a series of turnovers and penalties.

2002 Oakland Raiders season

The 2002 Oakland Raiders season was the franchise's 33rd season in the National Football League, the 43rd overall, the seventh back in Oakland and the first season under head coach Bill Callahan. The Raiders played their home games at Network Associates Coliseum as members of the AFC West. The Raiders had essentially traded their head coach Jon Gruden following the 2001 season. The Raiders hired Callahan, the offensive coordinator under Gruden to return them to the playoffs.

Despite their talent, the Raiders struggled in the first half of the season. A 4–0 start was followed by four consecutive losses; the team's 4–4 record stunned many onlookers. The team, however, redeemed itself by winning seven of its final eight contests. In the third quarter of Oakland's 26–20 win on Monday Night Football over the Jets, Tim Brown became the third player in NFL history with 1,000 career catches. Finishing 11–5 in a conference where twelve teams obtained .500 or better records and nine were above .500, the Raiders won the AFC West for the third consecutive season and clinched the AFC's top seed and full home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They routed the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, by a combined score of 71–34 and a plus-four in turnover differential; in doing so, they advanced to their first Super Bowl since 1984. Their opponent was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by their former coach Jon Gruden.

The Raiders entered Super Bowl XXXVII as slight favorites; many predicted a hard-fought showdown between Oakland's top-ranked offense and Tampa Bay's top-ranked defense. The resulting game, however, ended in disaster for the Raiders. An early three-point lead (courtesy of a Sebastian Janikowski field goal) evaporated as the Buccaneers scored 34 unanswered points. The Buccaneers defense, aided by Gruden's knowledge of the Raider offense and Raiders failure to change many of the terms for their offense, intercepted Rich Gannon three times during this scoring surge. Many times, Buccaneer safety John Lynch was able to determine what play was coming based on audibles called by Raider quarterback Rich Gannon. A furious Raider rally cut the score to an almost-competitive 34–21 in the fourth quarter. However, two more Gannon interceptions sealed the Raiders' fate in a 21–48 bludgeoning.

The years following the Super Bowl loss marked a period of decline and futility for the Raiders, who would not obtain a winning record nor a playoff trip until 2016, and, as of 2018, have not won another postseason game since this season.

Carnell Lake

Carnell Augustino Lake (born July 15, 1967) is a former professional American football player who was a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was the Cornerbacks Coach for the UCLA Bruins under head coach Rick Neuheisel in 2009 before leaving after one season for family reasons. He was the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach until February 2018.

Charles Woodson

Charles Cameron Woodson (born October 7, 1976) is a former American football player. He played college football for Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to a share of the national championship in 1997. Woodson, a "two-way player" who played both offense and defense, won the Heisman Trophy in the same year. To date, he is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman, and he is the most recent player to win the Heisman who was not either a running back or quarterback. Woodson went on to accomplish a storied career professionally with one of the most decorated professional football resumes of all time, considered by many of his peers to be one of the greatest defensive players to have ever played.

Woodson was drafted by the Oakland Raiders fourth overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. In his first season with Oakland, Woodson was selected as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. He was named to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro recognition three consecutive times (1999–2001). In a 2002 AFC playoff match against the New England Patriots, Woodson seemed to have clinched the game by forcing a fumble by sacking quarterback (and former Michigan teammate) Tom Brady, but the ruling was overturned. Woodson later battled several nagging injuries in consecutive seasons in Oakland, leading to his departure after the 2005 NFL season via free agency.On April 26, 2006, Woodson signed a seven-year, $52 million contract with the Green Bay Packers. He would later win Super Bowl XLV with the team over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his first season in Green Bay, Woodson was the team's punt returner and led the National Football Conference with eight interceptions, surpassing his previous career high of five, in his rookie year. In his second season in Green Bay, the injury problems returned and Woodson was forced to sit out two games. He was the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2009 NFL season. He returned to the Raiders in 2013, playing three more seasons and once more being voted to the Pro Bowl. Woodson is one of the few players in NFL history to play in a Pro Bowl in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s). He is currently tied for fifth on the all time interceptions list with 65, and is tied with Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for most career defensive touchdowns with 13. He also is second all time in interceptions returned for touchdowns, with 11.

After he retired in 2015, he signed with ESPN in 2016.

Delton Hall

Delton Dwayne Hall (born January 16, 1965) is a former professional American football cornerback in the National Football League.He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1987–1991) and the San Diego Chargers (1992)

Hall was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2nd round (38th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft—following the Steelers' pick of Rod Woodson (CB) in the 1st round. In his rookie year, he became an instant starter at cornerback, intercepting three passes on the way to earning Steelers' "Rookie of the Year" honors and the nickname "Beltin' Delton" from fans of the team.Hall also was a standout in track and field setting the North Carolina state 400 meters record at the NCHSAA Track Championships held at North Rowan High School in 1983. His time of 46.41 (electronic timing) remains the fastest ever recorded by a NC high schooler.

Interception

In ball-playing competitive team sports, an interception or pick is a move by a player involving a pass of the ball—whether by foot or hand, depending on the rules of the sport—in which the ball is intended for a player of the same team but caught by a player of the opposing team, who thereby usually gains possession of the ball for their team. It is commonly seen in football, including American and Canadian football, as well as association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, as well as any sport by which a loose object is passed between players toward a goal.

In basketball, a pick is called a steal.

List of National Football League annual interceptions leaders

An interception, also known as a pick, is a gridiron football concept involving a pass being caught by an opposition player, who usually gains possession for his team. Record-keeping for interception counts in the National Football League (NFL) began in 1940. The record for most interceptions in a single season is held by Night Train Lane, who logged 14 interceptions as a rookie in 1952, while playing for the Los Angeles Rams. Previously Dan Sandifer of Washington and Spec Sanders jointly held the record, earning 13 interceptions, in 1948 and 1950, respectively. The record for most league-leading seasons in interceptions is 3. This was first achieved by Everson Walls, who led the league in interceptions in 1981, 1982, and again in 1985. Ed Reed was later able to match Walls, by leading the league in 2004, 2008, and 2010. Bill Bradley became the first player to led the league in interceptions in consecutive seasons (1971 and 1972). The aforementioned Walls matched Bradley with his 1981 and 1982 efforts. The most recent players to lead the league in interceptions are Kyle Fuller , Xavien Howard, and Damontae Kazee with 7 in 2018. Additionally, New York Giants players have led the league in interceptions in more seasons (7), than any other team.

List of Pittsburgh Steelers figures in broadcasting

The Steelers franchise has a rich history of producing well-known sportscasters over the years: the most famous of which is Myron Cope, who served as a Steelers radio color commentator for 35 seasons (1970-2004).

Additionally, several former players for the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up the broadcast microphone:

Lynn Swann (wide receiver, 1974-1982) - Starting in 1978 was a sideline reporter for ABC Sports. Over the 2005 and 2006 NFL seasons, he had taken a leave of absence to unsuccessfully pursue the governor's office of Pennsylvania. Swann has also had several Hollywood roles, making cameos in 1998's The Waterboy, 1993's The Program and 1991's The Last Boy Scout. His TV cameos include Saturday Night Live and The Drew Carey Show.

Merril Hoge (running back, 1987-1993) - Has hosted sports shows on ESPN and ESPN2 since 1996 most notably NFL Matchup, Football Friday and NFL 2Night/ NFLLive. He has also had hosting duties on ABC/ESPN's Great Outdoor Games. He also served as an analyst for the Steelers radio network alongside Bill Hillgrove and the late Myron Cope.

Mark Malone (quarterback, 1980-1987) - Began his career as a sports reporter for Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV from 1991–1994, from 1994 to 2004 he hosted nationally-televised sports shows for ESPN, including NFL 2Night, NFL Matchup and the X-Games. From 2004-2008 he was director of sports broadcasting at CBS2 Chicago. Now Hosts his own program weeknights from 7 PM - 10 PM on NBC Sports Radio.

Jerome Bettis (running back, 1998-2011) - Formerly an analyst of NBC Sunday Night Football's Football Night in America pre-game with Bob Costas 2006–2009, also is host of the Pittsburgh broadcast The Jerome Bettis Show 1998–2007 on KDKA-TV and 2007-Present on WPXI-TV.

Hines Ward (wide receiver, 1996-2005) - Former analyst of NBC Sunday Night Football's Football Night in America. Pregame/halftime analyst for Notre Dame Football on NBC (2013–2015), Now is a Sports Analyst for CNN since 2016 and hosts The Hines Ward Show 2013–Present on WPXI-TV.

Bill Cowher (head coach, 1992-2006) - Co-host of CBS Sports NFL Today on CBS as a studio analyst, joining Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason. Cowher had a cameo in 1998's The Waterboy, and in 2007 Cowher appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. Cowher matched up against Gabrielle Reece and William Shatner. Cowher has also made a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises with several other Steelers players, as the coach of the Gotham Rogues.

Terry Bradshaw (quarterback, 1970-1983) - Started as a Guest commentator for CBS NFL Playoff broadcasts from 1980–1982, after retirement he joined Verne Lundquist at CBS full-time as a game anaylst on what would become one of the top rated sports broadcasts. In 1990, he went from the broadcast booth to the pre-game studio shows anchoring the NFL Today pre-game shows on CBS and later on Fox NFL Sunday. He has in recent years started to host regular features in addition to the show, "Ten yards with TB" and the "Terry Awards". In addition to broadcasting Bradshaw has had appearances in several major motion pictures (most notably Smokey and the Bandit II, Black Sunday, and Failure to Launch) as well as spokesman for Radio Shack and SaniKing among others in commercials. He also has made many guest appearances on sitcoms from Married... with Children to Evening Shade and Wee Willie Winkie.

Kordell Stewart (quarterback 1998-2003) - Currently an ESPN Analyst for all NFL shows and an Analyst for TuneIn's NFL Coverage.

Tunch Ilkin (offensive tackle, 1980–1992) - current Steelers radio color commentator; Pittsburgh CW Network In the Locker Room Host 2006–Present.

Craig Wolfley (offensive lineman, 1980-1989) - current Steelers radio sideline reporter; Pittsburgh CW Network In the Locker Room Host 2006–Present.

Rod Woodson (defensive back, 1987–1996), (1997 with 49ers), (1998-2001 with Ravens), & (2002-2003 with Raiders) - current Analysts for NFL Network 2003–Present.

Jack Ham (linebacker, 1971–1982) - did color commentary for the Steelers on KDKA-TV during the NFL Preseason into the early 2000s before leaving and being replaced by former teammate Edmund Nelson. Ham also co-hosted some pregame and postgame shows on the station, but was replaced by Nelson in those roles as well. Since 2000, Ham has been the color analyst on the Penn State football radio network.

Edmund Nelson (defensive lineman, 1982-1988) - served as the color analyst for Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season games and participated as a co-host to Bob Pompeani in KDKA-TV's regular season pre-game program Steelers Kickoff until retiring in 2015.

Charlie Batch (quarterback, 2002-2012) - took a Steelers pre-game studio analyst job with KDKA-TV for the 2013 season alongside KDKA-TV sports anchor Bob Pompeani and ex-Steeler defensive lineman Edmund Nelson, effectively ending his NFL career. He continued in this role for the 2014 season. In 2015, Batch replaced the retiring Nelson as KDKA-TV's color commentator for preseason games, while becoming the main studio analyst for the Steelers pre-game coverage prior to the national airing of The NFL Today. Former teammate Chris Hoke replaced Nelson for the post-game show.

Tony Dungy (defensive back, 1977-1979) - as an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America.

List of Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft picks

The Pittsburgh Steelers, a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, participated in the first NFL Draft prior to the 1936 season. The franchise changed its name to the Steelers prior to the 1940 season, to represent the city's heritage of producing steel.The event, which is officially known as the "Player Selection Meeting", is held each April. The draft is used as the primary means to distribute newly available talent (primarily from college football) equitably amongst the teams. Selections are made in reverse order based on the previous season's record, i.e. the club with the worst record from the previous season selects first. Through 2009, only two exceptions were made to this order: the Super Bowl champion always selects last (32nd), and the Super Bowl loser is awarded the penultimate (31st) pick. Beginning in 2010, teams making the playoffs will be seeded in reverse order depending upon how far they advance. The draft consists of seven rounds. Teams have the option of trading selections for players, cash and/or other selections (including future year selections). Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades. The Steelers have traded away their first-round pick eight times; they have had two first-round selections in two drafts.

The Steelers' first selection in the inaugural NFL draft was William Shakespeare, a halfback from Notre Dame. The Steelers have selected first overall three times, drafting Bill Dudley in 1942, Gary Glick in 1956 and Terry Bradshaw in 1970. The team has selected second overall once, and third overall four times. Through 2009, seven Steeler first-round picks have gone on to have playing careers deemed worthy of enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dudley, Len Dawson, Joe Greene, Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Rod Woodson. The team's most recent first-round selection was Terrell Edmunds, a safety from Virginia Tech.

Mr. Football USA

Mr. Football USA also known as ESPN RISE National Player of the Year, formerly EA Sports Mr. Football USA, is an award presented to the United States high school football National Player of the year by ESPN HS. In 2013, the award was given by the StudentSports.com.2013 - Will Grier, Davidson (North Carolina) QB

2012 - Max Browne, Skyline (Washington) QB

2011 – Johnathan Gray, Aledo (Texas) RB

2010 – Johnathan Gray, Aledo (Texas) RB (Jr.)

2009 – Dillon Baxter, Mission Bay (San Diego) QB-RB

2008 – Garrett Gilbert, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) QB

2007 – Jacory Harris, Northwestern (Miami) QB

2006 – Darren Evans, Warren Central (Indianapolis) FB

2005 – Matthew Stafford, Highland Park (Dallas) QB

2004 – Chase Daniel, Carroll (Southlake, Texas) QB

2003 – Jeff Byers, Loveland (Loveland, Colo.) OL-DL

2002 – Chris Leak, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) QB

2001 – Vince Young, Madison (Houston) QB

2000 – Cedric Benson, Robert E. Lee (Midland, Texas) RB

1999 – D. J. Williams, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) RB-LB

1998 – J. R. House, Nitro (Nitro, W. Va.) QB

1997 – Ronald Curry, Hampton (Va.) QB-RB

1996 – Travis Henry, Frostproof (Fla.) RB

1995 – Tim Couch, Leslie County (Hyden, Ky.) QB

1994 – Chris Redman, Male (Louisville, Ky.) QB

1993 – Peyton Manning, Newman (New Orleans) QB

1992 – James Allen, Wynnewood (Okla.) RB

1991 – Steven Davis, Spartanburg (S.C.) RB

1990 – Derrick Brooks, Washington (Pensacola, Fla.) LB

1989 – Robert Smith, Euclid (Ohio) RB

1988 – Terry Kirby, Tabb (Va.) RB

1987 – Carl Pickens, Murphy (N.C.) WR

1986 – Emmitt Smith, Escambia (Pensacola, Fla.) RB

1985 – Jeff George, Warren Central (Indianapolis) QB

1984 – Andre Rison, Northwestern (Flint, Mich.) WR-DB

1983 – Chris Spielman, Washington (Massillon, Ohio) LB

1982 – Rod Woodson, Snider (Fort Wayne, Ind.) WR-DB

1981 – Marcus Dupree, Philadelphia (Miss.) RB

1980 – Bill Fralic, Penn Hills (Pittsburgh) OL

1979 – Herschel Walker, Johnson County (Wrightsville, Ga.) RB

1978 – Eric Dickerson, Sealy (Sealy) RB

1977 – Marcus Allen, Lincoln (San Diego) QB-RB

1976 – Freeman McNeil, Banning (Wilmington, Calif.) RB

1975 – Charles White, San Fernando (San Fernando, Calif.) RB

1974 – Billy Sims, Hooks (Hooks, Texas) RB

1973 – Earl Campbell, John Tyler (Tyler, Texas) RB

1972 – Tony Dorsett, Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.) RB

1971 – Dave Logan, Wheat Ridge (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) WR

1970 – Pat Haden, Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.) QB

National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

The National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team was chosen by a selection committee of media and league personnel in 1994 to honor the greatest players of the first 75 years of the National Football League (NFL). Five players on the list were on NFL rosters at the time of the selections: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Rod Woodson, Reggie White, and Ronnie Lott. Gale Sayers was named to the team as both a halfback and kickoff returner. Every player is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, except for Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC.

In contrast with their status as perennial also-rans in the pre-merger NFL, where they were the oldest team never to win a league championship, the Steelers of the post-merger (modern) era are one of the most successful NFL franchises. Pittsburgh is tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles (6), and has both played in (16) and hosted more conference championship games (11) than any other NFL team. The Steelers have won 8 AFC championships, tied with the Denver Broncos, but behind the Patriots' record 11 AFC championships. The Steelers share the record for second most Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, and Dallas Cowboys (8). The Steelers lost their most recent championship appearance, Super Bowl XLV, on February 6, 2011.

The Steelers, whose history traces to a regional pro team that was established in the early 1920s, joined the NFL as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, owned by Art Rooney and taking its original name from the baseball team of the same name, as was common practice for NFL teams at the time. To distinguish them from the baseball team, local media took to calling the football team the Rooneymen, an unofficial nickname which persisted for decades after the team adopted its current nickname. The ownership of the Steelers has remained within the Rooney family since its founding. Art's son, Dan Rooney owned the team from 1988 until his death in 2017. Much control of the franchise has been given to Dan's son Art Rooney II. The Steelers enjoy a large, widespread fanbase nicknamed Steeler Nation. The Steelers currently play their home games at Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side in the North Shore neighborhood, which also hosts the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Built in 2001, the stadium replaced Three Rivers Stadium which hosted the Steelers for 31 seasons. Prior to Three Rivers, the Steelers had played their games in Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field.

Theo Bell

Theopolis Bell, Jr. (December 21, 1953 – June 21, 2006) was an American football wide receiver who played nine seasons in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bell, who was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, played college football at the University of Arizona and was selected in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Steelers. He was with the Steelers from 1976–80, earning Super Bowl rings in 1979 and 1980. He missed the 1977 season because of an injury. He is the Steelers' second-leading career punt returner, behind Rod Woodson.

Bell spent his first three years as a reserve, rising to a starting role in 1980 due to injuries to both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. His 25.8 yards-per-catch average led the AFC that year. He then held out of training camp the next year, hoping to get a salary increase based on his performance. He was instead waived, and was claimed by the Buccaneers, where he replaced Mike Shumann on the roster.During Bell's second season with the Steelers, his first wife, Kathy, appeared on Card Sharks and won several games for a total of $23,000 in prize money.

He died in Tampa, Florida at age 52 after suffering from scleroderma and kidney disease.[1] He was survived by two children, Teleah Bell and Terran Bell (Kiana Bell).

Rod Woodson—awards, championships, and honors
On-air talent
Programs

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