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Old 08-09-2009, 03:48 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
A part of four teams over a 17-year career and a cornerback on the NFL's 75th anniversary team, he becomes the first post-1970s Steeler to enter the Hall.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Lake Fong/Post-Gazette

CANTON, Ohio -- It was an annual rite of August, this march to history, this journey to destiny. One by one, they made their way to the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, each taking their turn at enshrinement as part of a franchise -- a Super era, if you will -- that was unlike any in National Football League history.

The 1970s produced more than four Super Bowl titles in six years for the Steelers. They produced nine players and a coach who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, nearly all just five years after retirement -- the minimum waiting period for enshrinement.

Last night, on a stage a couple of hundred yards from where 10 members of the Super Steelers were inducted, Rod Woodson took his turn and was given enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the first player from the post-Steel Curtain era to be inducted.

"It's more than putting on a jacket and seeing your bust here," Woodson said. "It's being part of an elite team of pro football. I'm honored to be in the '09 class with good men."

Woodson, an 11-time Pro Bowl cornerback who played 10 seasons with the Steelers (1987-96), played seven more seasons with three other teams -- the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers -- and finished with the third-most interceptions in NFL history (71).

And even though he is the first Ravens player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Woodson will always be remembered as a member of the Steelers, even though he never won a Super Bowl with them.

"I want to say thank you to the Rooney family -- a great, great family," Woodson said. "The Steelers are arguably one of the best, if not the best, sporting franchises because of their family. I want to thank you for 10 wonderful years."

And then, looking toward the audience littered with Terrible Towels and No. 26 jerseys, Woodson said, "And the Steeler Nation for accepting me and cheering me on -- and, after I left, for booing me. If you cheered me when I put on a Ravens uniform, I think I would have lost a lot of respect for the Steeler Nation. I'm glad you booed me, because you should."

Woodson's induction, unlike that of the other Steelers', took place on a giant makeshift stage inside Fawcett Stadium, just a Terry Bradshaw pass from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, though raucous crowds gathered, stood and chanted in black-and-gold jerseys for the induction of their past Super Bowl heroes, Woodson's enshrinement had less of a Pittsburgh flavor.

In fact, the crowd inside the stadium was mostly red, white and blue -- the colors of the Buffalo Bills, who had two members of their franchise, owner Ralph Wilson and defensive end Bruce Smith, being inducted.

"Rod is more than a Hall of Fame football player; he's a Hall of Fame person," said Tracy Foster, Woodson's longtime friend from Fort Wayne, Ind., who presented him for enshrinement.

In a tribute to a career that spanned 17 seasons, each of Woodson's five children wore a different jersey of the four teams for which he played. In a lengthy speech he thanked each of the three teams that employed him after his departure from Pittsburgh after the 1996 season; nonetheless, Woodson saved most of his tribute for the Steelers coaches who started him on the road to stardom, beginning with Chuck Noll. He also included assistants Tony Dungy and his first defensive coordinator, Rod Rust, whom he called a "defensive genius, a guy who went above what he should have done."

Then, after citing Bill Cowher and former defensive coordinator Dom Capers, he began an unofficial campaign to get his former secondary coach, Dick LeBeau, into the Hall of Fame.

"I hope the voters, seriously, get it right," Woodson said. "He deserves to be in as a player, and if you don't put him as a player, you put him in as a contributor. He deserves it. The voters will get tired of hearing me saying it -- Dick LeBeau deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."

Woodson had 38 of his 71 interceptions and five of his NFL-record 12 interception returns for touchdowns with the Steelers, who made him their No. 1 pick in 1987. In '94, his eighth season with the Steelers, he was named as a cornerback on the NFL's 75th Anniversary team, one of only five active players to be so honored.

He joins nine other players who were drafted by Noll in the Hall of Fame -- Bradshaw (1989), Joe Greene (1987), Jack Ham (1988), Mel Blount (1989), Franco Harris (1990), Jack Lambert (1990), Mike Webster (1997), Lynn Swann (2001) and John Stallworth (2002). Noll was inducted in '93, a year after he retired.

Greene and Blount were the only past Steelers inductees to attend last night's ceremony and sit on the stage behind Woodson. Steelers president Art Rooney II also was in attendance.

"I knew just from watching him over the years, and from watching great athletes, this guy was a great player," Blount said. "I knew what kind of skills you have to have and this guy had them all -- plus. We're excited to see him go in and see him go in in style."

One of Woodson's greatest achievements with the Steelers won't even show up in the record book. In the '95 season, after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the season opener against the Detroit Lions, he came back to play in Super Bowl XXX against the Dallas Cowboys -- a remarkable feat considering the severity of the injury. He is believed to be the only player to return from a torn ACL in the same season, even though his participation in the Super Bowl was limited to specialty packages.

"It never would have happened if Bill didn't leave a spot open for me," Woodson said. "There's no coach today [who would do that]. But Bill saw something. What he saw, I don't know, but he gave me a great opportunity to play in the Super Bowl."

Woodson left the Steelers after the '96 season, his seventh Pro Bowl season, because Cowher and director of football operations Tom Donahoe believed injuries had robbed him of his effectiveness.

But Woodson went on to play seven more seasons -- one with the 49ers, four with the Ravens, two more with the Raiders. He won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2000, when he played safety, and made it to the Super Bowl with the Raiders in '02, a year in which he led the NFL, at age 37, with eight interceptions.

Woodson retired a year later. Last night, his journey, which began with the Steelers, was completed.

Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09221...#ixzz0NiheNWMl

(That Woodson went in as a Steeler must really honk off the RatTurd Village of Baltimore. - mesa)
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

God, I wish we kept him. So he wouldn't have to put on those ugly purple colors.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Just saw his speech and induction on DVR. Good to see some Raven fans in the crowd too were cheering him on as well. I liked how his family wore a jersey from each of the teams he went to in his career. His induction is well deserved! Hopefully the tidbit he said about Dick Lebeau will help get him in as well
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

I was not able to go due to a family emergency, but I'm glad Woodson showed great poise and class at his induction. He's the first of MANY "new" Steelers headed to the Hall...
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

I was there! Woodson is such a class act, even if he was a Ratbird.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Well deserved Rod. Well deserved.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edman View Post
God, I wish we kept him. So he wouldn't have to put on those ugly purple colors.
Rod needed a ring, and he knew Pittsburgh wasn't the place.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Rod needed a ring, and he knew Pittsburgh wasn't the place.
absolute rubbish. he did nothing but win and go to the playoffs in pittsburgh, and admitted in his speech that baltimore was about the last place hed expect to go and win a ring.

ray ray all you want, but they werent anything before rod and have been nothing ever since...

(he quickly got the raiders over the hump and back into a superbowl).

a true champion even though he only got the one ring. he will go down as the greatest player to ever wear the purple crow outfit.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:52 PM   #9
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absolute rubbish.
Which is about all that guy ever spouts here. Consider the source.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers fans hail Woodson as he is inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

How come no one mentions his time in San Fransico?
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