Woodson is the youngest of three siblings, with whom he had close relationships. His father, the late James Woodson, was African-American, and his mother, Linda Jo, is white; they were married providing a stable home for Joe, Jamie and Rod . Woodson attended R. Nelson Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He played defensive back and a variety of offensive skill positions and was all-state his junior and senior seasons. in addition to football, he won both the high and low hurdles state championships in both his junior and senior seasons; and played varsity basketball his junior and senior seasons, making all conference his senior year.
Woodson accepted a full scholarship to play football at Purdue University, in part because of a desire to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. Woodson played primarily as a defensive back and kick returner, but also saw time on offense as a running back and wide receiver. He was named an All-American defensive back in 1985 and 1986, and was a three time All-Big Ten first team selection. In his final collegiate game, Woodson gained over 150 of combined rushing and receiving yards, in addition to making ten tackles and forcing a fumble, leading Purdue to a victory over arch-rival Indiana.
Woodson left Purdue with 13 individual records, notably tying the school record with eleven career interceptions. He currently is ranked in the top ten in career interceptions, solo tackles, total tackles, passes deflected, and kickoff return yardage as a Boilermaker.
In addition to his exploits on the gridiron, Woodson was also an accomplished track and field athlete at Purdue, and twice awarded All-America honors. He currently holds the school records in both the 60 and 110 meter hurdles, events in which he earned five Big Ten championships. In 1984, he qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 100 meter hurdles, but elected to continue his football career in the NFL after graduating from Purdue with a degree in criminal justice.
Woodson was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
Pro football career
In 1987, Woodson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 10th overall draft pick. He returned punts and played defensive cornerback for Pittsburgh through the 1996 season.On November 22, 1987 he was listed third on the depth chart in a game against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals played at Cincinnati Riverfront Stadium, Woodson was inserted into the secondary. In the final minute of the second quarter, he recorded his first career interception when he picked off a Boomer Esiason pass.
He was a fan favorite and a banner that hung for years in Three Rivers Stadium stated: “Rod Is God”. 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 ACL against the Detroit Lions in the first game and returned to play in the Super Bowl XXX between the Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys just 19 weeks later. In that game, he broke up a pass intended for Michael Irvin, hopped up and pointed at his reconstructed knee. In a game against the Houston Oilers, Woodson hit Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon on a cornerback blitz. The hit gave Moon a concussion and forced him to leave the game.
Woodson’s career took a somewhat nomadic turn after free agency from Pittsburgh, after the Rooney family elected not to renew his contract over a pay dispute as well as the salary cap. (The team had a similar dispute with Franco Harris in 1984 and later with Alan Faneca in 2008.) Although he remained to raise his family in Pittsburgh and later made amends with the Rooneys, he hopped between three additional franchises, becoming one of the few modern cornerbacks to successfully make a transition to the safety position, following in the footsteps of Ronnie Lott. Woodson signed with the San Francisco 49ers for the 1997 season, the Baltimore Ravens for the years 1998 to 2001 (where he won Super Bowl XXXV), and the Oakland Raiders for 2002 and 2003 (where he appeared in his third Super Bowl). In the Raiders 2002 Super Bowl season, 37-year old Woodson led the NFL in interceptions (8) for the first time in his career. His last interception came on November 16, 2003 against the Minnesota Vikings Daunte Culpepper.
NFL records and accomplishments
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 (15 offensive and 17 defensive), 137 fumble return yards, 4,894 kickoff return yards, 2,362 punt return yards, and 17 touchdowns (12 interception returns, 1 fumble return, 2 kickoff returns, 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. His 32 fumble recoveries are a record amongst defensive players. His 71 interceptions rank 3rd all time.
Woodson was named to the Pro Bowl eleven times, a record for a defensive back. He was also the first player to earn trips to the Pro Bowl at cornerback, safety and kick returner. He was named 1993’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He was also a 7 time All-Pro selection. Woodson finished second to Darrell Green in the 1988 NFL Fastest Man Contest.
In 1994, he was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team. What made it notable was that Woodson was one of only five active players to be named to the team. The others were Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Reggie White and Ronnie Lott. In 1999, he was ranked number 87 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. The College Football News has also honored him as one of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.
In 2007, he was ranked number 22 on USA Today list of the 25 best NFL players of the past 25 years.
It is unlikely that the Steelers will remove Woodson’s number 26 from circulation, however, since the number is currently being worn by longtime cornerback Deshea Townsend, who as of the 2008 season has now played longer with the Steelers than Woodson did. (The team drafted Townsend in 1998 around the same time that Woodson signed with the archrival Ravens, and still had an acrimonious relationship with the Rooneys at the time.) Mel Blount’s number 47 has also conspicuously remained in circulation since his retirement after the 1983 season.
On January 31, 2009, Woodson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility becoming the 18th Steelers-related person to be enshrined. Woodson named his good friend and business associate Tracy Foster as his presenter. Foster went to Indiana to play basketball for Bob Knight. Foster runs Woodson car dealership in Pittsburgh.
Woodson was released by the Oakland Raiders on July 27, 2004 after failing his team physical. His replacement at free safety for the Raiders was Stuart Schweigert, who coincidentally, broke Woodson’s career interception record at Purdue.
He now helps coach the defense at Valley Christian Senior High in Dublin, California along with former Raider John Parrella. Woodson lives in Pleasanton, California with his wife Nickie and their five children . His son, Demitrius, plays safety and wide receiver there as well as kick returner.
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.
Currently Woodson splits his time between NFL Network studios in Los Angeles, his home in Pleasanton,and his cottage in Coldwater, Michigan. He was also part of the studio team for BBC Sport’s NFL coverage in 2007, including Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLIII.
Rod Woodson sponsored a charity benefit dinner and auction on July 25, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum – just two weeks before he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All proceeds went to the Football and Scholarship programs at Valley Christian School, the high school where Rod coaches.
^ Hayes, Reggie (2009-08-03). “Tracing Woodson’s path to greatness”. Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090803/SPORTS/908030336/1002. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
^ “Former Boilermaker Rod Woodson Elected To Pro Football Hall Of Fame”. Purdue University. http://www.purduesports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/013109aab.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
^ Jeanguenat, John (2003-04-29). “Halls of fame induct, honor alumnus”. The Exponent. http://www.purdueexponent.org/interface/bebop/showstory.php?date=2003/04/29§ion=sports. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
^ I’ll take that!
^ FOOTBALL; Moon Passes Tests After Concussion The New York Times- Published: Wednesday, November 4, 1992
^ a b “Woodson set new standard in backfield”. USA Today. 2007-06-21. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2007-06-21-no-22-woodson_N.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
^ Attner, Paul (1993-11-29). “The Intimidator”. The Sporting News. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_n22_v216/ai_14688205/pg_2. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
^ Hall of Fame: Woodson greatness went beyond stats
^ The Class of 2009 presenters
^ “BBC announce studio team”. http://www.nfluk.com/news-display.php?id=2854. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
^ http://www.rod-woodson-hall-of-fame.com “Rod Woodson HoF Benefit Dinner & Auction”. http://www.rod-woodson-hall-of-fame.com http://www.rod-woodson-hall-of-fame.com. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
Rod Woodson at ESPN.com
Rod Woodson at the Internet Movie Database
AP May 22, 1992
‘never Back Down’ SI Vault
Story >>I’ll take that! profootballhof.com
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Formerly the Pittsburgh Pirates Founded in 1933 Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Franchise History Seasons Logos and Uniforms Coaches Players Quarterbacks First-round draft picks Statistics
Forbes Field Pitt Stadium Three Rivers Stadium Heinz Field
Terrible Towel Rooney family Myron Cope Steeler Nation “Here We Go”
Immaculate Reception Steel Curtain Blitzburgh 1974 Draft Class Terrible Curse The Comeback II Immaculate Redemption Bengals rivalry Browns rivalry Ravens rivalry The Steagles Card-Pitt Pennsylvania Keystoners Steelerettes Renegade
Douds DiMelio Bach McNally Kiesling Bell Donelli Kiesling Leonard Sutherland Michelosen Bach Kiesling Parker Nixon Austin Noll Cowher Tomlin
Division championships (19)
1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008
Super Bowl appearances (7)
IX X XIII XIV XXX XL XLIII
League championships (6)
1974 1975 1978 1979 2005 2008
Hall of Fame members
Players – Blount Bradshaw Dudley Greene Ham Harris Johnson Lambert Layne Stallworth Stautner Swann Webster Woodson
Coaches and administration – Bell Kiesling LeBeau Noll Art Rooney Dan Rooney
1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Current league affiliations
League: National Football League Conference: American Football Conference Division: North Division
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1987 NFL Draft First Round Selections
Vinny Testaverde Cornelius Bennett Alonzo Highsmith Brent Fullwood Mike Junkin Kelly Stouffer Reggie Rogers Shane Conlan Jerome Brown Rod Woodson Shawn Knight Danny Noonan Chris Miller D. J. Dozier John Clay John Bosa Jason Buck Tony Woods Paul Palmer Haywood Jeffires Roger Vick Harris Barton Bruce Armstrong Rod Bernstine Terrence Flagler Jim Harbaugh Ricky Nattiel Mark Ingram
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
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Pittsburgh Steelers First-round Draft selections
Bill Shakespeare (1936/ #3 overall) | Mike Basrak (1937/ #5) | Byron “Whizzer” White (1938/ #4) | Kay Eakin (1940/ #3) | Bill Dudley (1942/ #1) | Bill Daley (1943/ #7) | Johnny Podesto (1944/ #10) | Paul Duhart (1945/ #2) | Doc Blanchard (1946/ #3) | Hub Bechtol (1947/ #5) | Dan Edwards (1948/ #9) | Bobby Gage (1949/ #6) | Lynn Chandnois (1950/ #8) | Butch Avinger (1951/ #9) | Ed Modzelewski (1952/ #6) | Ted Marchibroda (1953/ #5) | Johnny Lattner (1954/ #7) | Frank Varrichione (1955/ #6) | Gary Glick (1956/ #1) | Art Davis (1956/ #5) | Len Dawson (1957/ #5) | Jack Spikes (1960/ #6) | Bob Ferguson (1962/ #5) | Paul Martha (1964/ #10) | Dick Leftridge (1966/ #3) | Mike Taylor (1968/ #10) | Joe Greene (1969/ #4) | Terry Bradshaw (1970/ #1) | Frank Lewis (1971/ #8) | Franco Harris (1972/ #13) | J. T. Thomas (1973/ #4) | Lynn Swann (1974/ #21) | Dave Brown (1975/ #26) | Bennie Cunningham (1976/ #28) | Robin Cole (1977/ #21) | Ron Johnson (1978/ #22) | Greg Hawthorne (1979/ #28) | Mark Malone (1980/ #28) | Keith Gary (1981/ #17) | Walter Abercrombie (1982/ #12) | Gabriel Rivera (1983/ #21) | Louis Lipps (1984/ #23) | Darryl Sims (1985/ #20) | John Rienstra (1986/ #9) | Rod Woodson (1987/ #10) | Aaron Jones (1988/ #18) | Tim Worley (1989/ #7) | Tom Ricketts (1989/ #24) | Eric Green (1990/ #21) | Huey Richardson (1991/ #15) | Leon Searcy (1992/ #11) | Deon Figures (1993/ #23) | Charles Johnson (1994/ #17) | Mark Bruener (1995/ #27) | Jamain Stephens (1996/ #29) | Chad Scott (1997/ #24) | Alan Faneca (1998/ #26) | Troy Edwards (1999/ #13) | Plaxico Burress (2000/ #8) | Casey Hampton (2001/ #19) | Kendall Simmons (2002/ #30) | Troy Polamalu (2003/ #16) | Ben Roethlisberger (2004/ #11) | Heath Miller (2005/ #30) | Santonio Holmes (2006/ #25) | Lawrence Timmons (2007/ #15) | Rashard Mendenhall (2008/ #23) | Evander Hood (2009/ #32)
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Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV Champions
3 Matt Stover | 5 Kyle Richardson | 7 Chris Redman | 8 Trent Dilfer | 11 Marcus Nash | 12 Tony Banks | 20 Kim Herring | 21 Chris McAlister | 22 Duane Starks | 25 Clarence Love | 26 Rod Woodson | 29 Chuck Evans | 30 Obafemi Ayanbadejo | 31 Jamal Lewis | 32 Sam Gash | 33 Priest Holmes | 35 Robert Bailey | 38 James Trapp | 42 Anthony Mitchell | 43 Anthony Poindexter | 45 Corey Harris | 50 Brad Jackson | 51 Cornell Brown | 52 Ray Lewis (MVP) | 55 Jamie Sharper | 56 Anthony Davis | 57 O. J. Brigance | 58 Peter Boulware | 60 Jeff Mitchell | 62 Mike Flynn | 64 Edwin Mulitalo | 66 John Hudson | 70 Harry Swayne | 71 Spencer Folau | 72 Sammy Williams | 74 Orlando Bobo | 75 Jonathan Ogden | 77 Kipp Vickers | 79 Larry Webster | 80 Brandon Stokley | 81 Ben Coates | 82 Shannon Sharpe | 83 Patrick Johnson | 84 Jermaine Lewis | 85 John Jones | 86 Billy Davis | 87 Qadry Ismail | 90 Rob Burnett | 91 Lional Dalton | 93 Keith Washington | 95 Sam Adams | 96 Adalius Thomas | 98 Tony Siragusa | 99 Michael McCrary
Head Coach: Brian Billick
Coaches: Matt Cavanaugh | Jim Colletto | Jack Del Rio | Wade Harman | Donnie Henderson | Milt Jackson | Marvin Lewis | Russ Purnell | Rex Ryan | Steve Shafer | Matt Simon | Mike Smith | Bennie Thompson | Paul McCord
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NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award from the Associated Press
1971: Page 1972: Greene 1973: Anderson 1974: Greene (x2) 1975: Blount 1976: Lambert 1977: Martin 1978: Gradishar 1979: Selmon 1980: Hayes 1981: Taylor 1982: Taylor (x2) 1983: Betters 1984: Easley 1985: Singletary 1986: Taylor (x3) 1987: White 1988: Singletary (x2) 1989: Millard 1990: Smith 1991: Swilling 1992: Kennedy 1993: Woodson 1994: D. Sanders 1995: Paup 1996: Smith (x2) 1997: Stubblefield 1998: White (x2) 1999: Sapp 2000: Lewis 2001: Strahan 2002: Brooks 2003: Lewis (x2) 2004: Reed 2005: Urlacher 2006: Taylor 2007: B. Sanders 2008: Harrison 2009: Woodson
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National Football League | NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team
Brett Favre | John Elway | Barry Sanders | Emmitt Smith | Terrell Davis | Thurman Thomas | Cris Carter | Jerry Rice | Tim Brown | Michael Irvin | Shannon Sharpe | Ben Coates | Willie Roaf | Gary Zimmerman | Tony Boselli | Richmond Webb | Bruce Matthews | Randall McDaniel | Larry Allen | Steve Wisniewski | Dermontti Dawson | Mark Stepnoski | Bruce Smith | Reggie White | Chris Doleman | Neil Smith | Cortez Kennedy | John Randle | Warren Sapp | Bryant Young | Kevin Greene | Junior Seau | Derrick Thomas | Cornelius Bennett | Hardy Nickerson | Levon Kirkland | Deion Sanders | Rod Woodson | Darrell Green | Aeneas Williams | Steve Atwater | LeRoy Butler | Carnell Lake | Ronnie Lott | Darren Bennett | Sean Landeta | Morten Andersen | Gary Anderson | Mel Gray | Michael Bates | Bill Parcells | Marv Levy
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National Football League | NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
Sammy Baugh | Otto Graham | Joe Montana | Johnny Unitas | Jim Brown | Marion Motley | Bronko Nagurski | Walter Payton | Gale Sayers | O.J. Simpson | Steve Van Buren | Lance Alworth | Raymond Berry | Don Hutson | Jerry Rice | Mike Ditka | Kellen Winslow | Roosevelt Brown | Forrest Gregg | Anthony Muoz | John Hannah | Jim Parker | Gene Upshaw | Mel Hein | Mike Webster | Deacon Jones | Gino Marchetti | Reggie White | Joe Greene | Bob Lilly | Merlin Olsen | Dick Butkus | Jack Ham | Ted Hendricks | Jack Lambert | Willie Lanier | Ray Nitschke | Lawrence Taylor | Mel Blount | Mike Haynes | Dick Lane | Rod Woodson | Ken Houston | Ronnie Lott | Larry Wilson | Ray Guy | Jan Stenerud | Billy Johnson
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Pittsburgh Steelers 75th Anniversary Team
Offense: Terry Bradshaw | Jerome Bettis | Rocky Bleier | Franco Harris | Bennie Cunningham | Elbie Nickel | John Stallworth | Lynn Swann | Hines Ward | Larry Brown | Dermontti Dawson | Alan Faneca | Tunch Ilkin | Jon Kolb | Mike Webster
Defense: “Mean” Joe Greene | L.C. Greenwood | Casey Hampton | Ernie Stautner | Dwight White | Jack Ham | Jack Lambert | Greg Lloyd | Joey Porter | Andy Russell | Mel Blount | Jack Butler | Carnell Lake | Troy Polamalu | Donnie Shell | Rod Woodson
Specialists: Gary Anderson | Bobby Walden
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2001 Pro Bowl AFC Starters
QB Rich Gannon | RB Edgerrin James | FB Richie Anderson | WR Marvin Harrison | WR Eric Moulds | TE Tony Gonzalez
OT Tony Boselli | OT Jonathan Ogden | G Ruben Brown | G Bruce Matthews | C Kevin Mawae
DE Trace Armstrong | DE Jason Taylor | DT Sam Adams | DT Trevor Pryce
OLB Mo Lewis | OLB Junior Seau | ILB Ray Lewis
CB Sam Madison | CB Samari Rolle | FS Rod Woodson | SS Blaine Bishop
P Darren Bennett | PK Matt Stover | KR Derrick Mason | ST Larry Izzo
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2002 Pro Bowl AFC Starters
QB Rich Gannon | RB Curtis Martin | FB Larry Centers | WR Marvin Harrison | WR Rod Smith | TE Tony Gonzalez
OT Lincoln Kennedy | OT Jonathan Ogden | G Alan Faneca | G Will Shields | C Kevin Mawae
DE John Abraham | DE Marcellus Wiley | DT Trevor Pryce | DT John Randle
OLB Jason Gildon | OLB Jamir Miller | ILB Ray Lewis
CB Sam Madison | CB Charles Woodson | FS Rod Woodson | SS Rodney Harrison
P Shane Lechler | PK Jason Elam | KR Jermaine Lewis | ST Ian Gold
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2003 Pro Bowl AFC Starters
QB Rich Gannon | RB Priest Holmes | FB Lorenzo Neal | WR Marvin Harrison | WR Jerry Rice | TE Tony Gonzalez
OT Jonathan Ogden | OT Willie Roaf | G Alan Faneca | G Will Shields | C Kevin Mawae
DE Trevor Pryce | DE Jason Taylor | DT Richard Seymour | DT Gary Walker
OLB Joey Porter | OLB Junior Seau | ILB Zach Thomas
CB Aaron Glenn | CB Patrick Surtain | FS Rod Woodson | SS Lawyer Milloy
P Chris Hanson | PK Adam Vinatieri | KR Dante Hall | ST Larry Izzo
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Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Bob Hayes Randall McDaniel Bruce Smith Derrick Thomas Ralph Wilson Rod Woodson
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NFL Total Access
Paul Burmeister (2004-present) Fran Charles (2006-present) Spero Dedes (2006-present) Rich Eisen (2003-present) Alex Flanagan (2006-present) Derrin Horton (2003-present) Bill Patrick (2003-2004)
Marcus Allen (2005) Brian Baldinger (2003-present) Bobby Beathard (2007) Charles Davis (2007-present) Butch Davis (2005-2006) Terrell Davis (2003-present) Jamie Dukes (2006-present) Marshall Faulk (2006-present) Seth Joyner (2003-2005) Lincoln Kennedy (2003-2006) Steve Mariucci (2006-present) Mike Mayock (2003-present) Jim E. Mora (2003-present) Ken Norton, Jr. (2003-2004) Glenn Parker (2003-2004) Dan Reeves (2003-2005) Deion Sanders (2006-present) Sterling Sharpe (2003-present) Emmitt Smith (2005) Tom Waddle (2007-present) Solomon Wilcots (2003-present) Rod Woodson (2003-present)
Jennifer Allen (2004-present) Michelle Beisner (2006-present) Scott Hanson (2006-present) Kara Henderson (2004-present) Adam Schefter (2003-2009) Jason La Canfora (2009-present)
Categories: People from Fort Wayne, Indiana | African American players of American football | American football safeties | American football cornerbacks | American football return specialists | Purdue Boilermakers football players | Pittsburgh Steelers players | San Francisco 49ers players | Baltimore Ravens players | Oakland Raiders players | American Conference Pro Bowl players | NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team | Purdue University alumni | Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees | 1965 births | Living peopleHidden categories: All pages needing factual verification | Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from August 2009