Rod Woodson (born March 10, 1965 in Fort Wayne, Indiana) was a professional American football player.
Rod Woodson began playing football as a boy in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After graduation from Snider High School in 1983, Rod was awarded a full scholarship to Purdue University. He starred at Purdue, winning All Big Ten and All American honors in 1985 and 1986. Woodson also starred in track, qualifying for the 1984 Olympic Trials.
In 1987, Woodson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He returned punts and played defensive cornerback for Pittsburgh through the 1996 season. A highlight came in 1995, when Woodson became the first player to return from reconstructive knee surgery in the same season. That year he tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament in the first game and returned to play in the Super Bowl XXX between the Steelers and Dallas Cowboys just 19 weeks later.
Woodson's career took a somewhat nomadic turn after free agency from Pittsburgh. Although he has remained to raise his family in Pittsburgh he has hopped between three additional franchises, becoming one of the few modern cornerbacks to successfully make a transition to the safety position. Woodson signed with San Francisco for the 1997 season, Baltimore for the years 1998 to 2001 (where he won a Super Bowl), and the Oakland Raiders for 2002 and 2003 (where he appeared in his third Super Bowl).
Woodson was released by the Oakland Raiders on July 27, 2004 after failing his team physical. He has since officially retired, and has stated to the press that he has no desire to resume his career . His replacement at free safety for the Raiders was Stuart Schweigert, who coincidentally, broke Woodson's career interception record at Purdue.
A consummate professional, Woodson is among the NFL's all time leaders in games played as a defensive back and interceptions. In his 17 NFL seasons, Woodson recorded 71 interceptions, 1,483 interception return yards, 32 fumble recoveries, 137 fumble return yards, 2,362 punt return yards, and 15 touchdowns(12 interception returns, 1 fumble return, 2 punt returns). He holds the league record for interceptions returned for touchdowns 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 are also an NFL record.
For his excellence on the field, Woodson has been named to the Pro Bowl eleven times, a record for a defensive back. Woodson was named 1993's NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. In 1994, he was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team. The Sporting News and College Football News have also honored him as one of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century. It is not a question whether Woodson will make it into the Hall of Fame in Canton upon eligibility, but whether he will choose to be inducted as a Pittsburgh Steeler, where he spent most of his career, or a Baltimore Raven, where he obtained his Super Bowl championship ring. (This has been basically answered during various NFL Network broadcasts where he speaks of being a Steeler and was in the Pittsburgh locker room after the 2006 AFC championship win over Denver.)
He now works for the NFL Network on "NFL TOTAL ACCESS" with Rich Eisen.
Since 1994, Woodson has operated an annual youth football camp, the Woodson/Fabini Football Camp, on the grounds of his former high school. He is also a partner in Woodson Motorsports, a BMW motorcycle dealership and repair shop in Fort Wayne.
Woodson splits his time between NFL Network studios in Los Angeles and his home in Pleasanton, California.