Woodson voted into Hall

TAMPA – Rod Woodson will become the 20th member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame ...

... after being voted in Saturday in his first year of eligibility.

Woodson will enter the Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 when the Tennessee Titans play the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio.

He'll be joined in the Class of 2009 by Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson and Bob Hayes.

Woodson was the No. 1 draft pick of the Steelers out of Purdue in 1987. Before leaving as a free agent following the 1996 season, Woodson was named to seven Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro five times, and was the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. He intercepted 38 passes with the Steelers (fourth all-time) and is the organization's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage (4,894), kickoff returns (220), punt return yardage (2,362) and punt returns (256).

Woodson continued his career with San Francisco (1997), Baltimore (1998-2001) and Oakland (2002-03). Overall, he was named to 11 Pro Bowls, six first-team All-Pro teams, intercepted 71 passes (third all-time), and scored 16 touchdowns on interception, kickoff and punt returns.

Woodson said he'll choose between two lifelong friends from his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to present him into the Hall.

"I'm pinching myself," Woodson said. "It's so surreal."

The others who were voted in:

* McDaniel played guard for the Minnesota Vikings from 1988-2001 and was named to 12 Pro Bowls.

* Smith played defensive end for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins from 1985-2003. His 200 sacks rank first in the NFL since the statistic has been kept.

* Thomas played outside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989-99. He had 126.5 sacks and was a two-time All-Pro first-teamer. Wilson is the owner and founder of the Buffalo Bills.

* Hayes, voted upon by the Seniors Committee, played wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965-75 and was a two-time first-team All-Pro who made 371 catches and averaged 20 yards per reception.


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