Rod Woodson is one of the best defensive backs to play in the NFL. Woodson spent 17 seasons in the NFL and achieved a lot throughout his career. He went on to win a Super Bowl and win numerous individual awards.
During his career, he suffered an injury that almost ended his playing career for good.
Rod Woodson was a standout athlete in college
Woodson decided to play football at Purdue University. One reason why he chose Purdue because he wanted to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. During his career at Purdue, he played multiple positions. He spent most of his time playing cornerback and kick returner. Woodson also saw time as a running back and wide receiver. In 1985 and 1986, he was named an All-American as a defensive back and was an All-American returner in 1986. He was one of the top players in the conference earning All-Big Ten first-team selection three times.
When Woodson left Purdue, he had multiple individual records. He currently is ranked in the top 10 in career interceptions, solo tackles, total tackles, passes deflected, and kickoff return yardage. Woodson left his legacy at Purdue as one of the best players in the history of the program. Not only did Woodson excel on the football field, he was a standout track athlete. He was named an All-American twice in track and field.
Woodson held the NCAA 60 meter hurdles record for 10 years. He also won five Big Ten Championships, and in 1984 he qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 110-meter hurdles but decided to pursue his NFL career. In 2003 Woodson was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Rod Woodson becoming one of the NFL’s best defensive players
The Pittsburg Steelers selected Woodson with the 10th overall pick in the 1987 NFL draft. Woodson spent most of his career as a defensive back and a return man. He developed into a top player for the Steelers. During the 1990 season, he finished with five interceptions, which was a career-high for him at the time. Three seasons later, he finished with eight interceptions and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year.
The Hall of Famer spent his first 10 seasons playing for the Steelers and became one of the all-time greats. After spending most of his career with the Steelers, Woodson played for the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Oakland Raiders. He led the league twice in interceptions during his career. Woodson played in 11 Pro Bowls and is an eight-time All-Pro selection. He was a member of the Baltimore Ravens team that won the Super Bowl during the 2000 season.
Rod Woodson’s tragic injury that almost cost him his career
Going into the 1995 season, Woodson was regarded as one of the best return men and defensive backs in the league. He only played in one game during the 1995 season, and during that game, he suffered an injury that did not look too promising for his career. Woodson was on the Steelers, and they were playing the Detroit Lions. He attempted to tackle running back Barry Sanders, and Woodson’s foot got caught in the turf, and he ended up tearing his ACL. The injury was very severe, and he was forced to miss the entire season.
Woodson underwent reconstructive surgery and had his ACL in his left knee replaced with a patella tendon from his right knee. There were questions if Woodson was going to return to his normal self after his injury, and his injury could have been career-ending. But Woodson was determined to return from his injury, and he went on to enjoy a successful career.