Michigan football Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee No. 9: Charles Woodson (2021)
There’s no question that Charles Woodson is the greatest Michigan football player of all time. He’s the only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy and his three-year run in Ann Arbor was legendary.
However, his NFL career was pretty spectacular too. Tom Brady is, of course, the greatest former Michigan football player to ever wear an NFL uniform.
That’s a pretty high bar, but Woodson is solidly in the No. 2 position after a career that makes him arguably the greatest defensive back the NFL has ever seen.
Woodson won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998 after being selected as the fourth overall pick by the Raiders, he was also Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 when he led the NFL with nine interceptions and returned three for touchdowns.
The former Michigan football legend intercepted one pass in each of his 18 seasons and was the first player in NFL history to record 50 interceptions and at least 20 sacks. He also had more than 1,200 tackles, 54 tackles for loss, 33 forced fumbles, and 183 passes defended.
On top of all that, Woodson was credited with 13 career defensive touchdowns — 11 interception returns and two fumble returns, which is tied for an NFL record.
The nine-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time First-Team All-Pro is also one of just two players (Marcus Allen is the other) to win a Heisman Trophy award, an AP Rookie of the Year Award, an AP Player of the Year Award, and a Super Bowl.
What’s even more impressive is that he was named First-Team All-Pro and earned Pro Bowl selections in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s). He also did that while playing for two different franchises — the Raiders and Packers — helping both reach the Super Bowl.
Woodson also won a Big Ten championship and a national championship with the Michigan Wolverines back in 1997.
Soon enough, Michigan football will reach 10 former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as Tom Brady is guaranteed to be inducted on the first ballot.