Charles Woodson (born October 7, 1976) is an American football free safety for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Michigan, and led the Michigan Wolverines to a national championship in 1997. Woodson, a "two-way player" who played both offense and defense, won the Heisman Trophy in the same year, becoming the first and, so far, only player to win the award as a defensive player. To date, he is the last player to win the Heisman that was not a running back or quarterback.
Woodson was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the fourth pick in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. In his first season with Oakland, Woodson was selected as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. He was named to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro recognition three consecutive times (1999–2001). In a memorable 2002 AFC playoff match against the New England Patriots, Woodson seemed to have clinched the game by forcing a fumble by quarterback Tom Brady, but the ruling was controversially overturned. Woodson later battled several nagging injuries in consecutive seasons in Oakland, leading to his departure and becoming a free agent after the 2005 NFL season.
On April 26, 2006, Woodson signed a seven-year, $52 million contract with the Green Bay Packers. In his first season in Green Bay, Woodson was the team's punt returner and led the National Football Conference with eight interceptions, surpassing his previous career high of five, in his rookie year. In his second season in Green Bay, the injury problems returned and Woodson was forced to sit out two games. He was the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the 2009 NFL season. Woodson is one of the few players in NFL history to play in a Pro Bowl in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s). He is currently eleventh on the all time interceptions list with 60, and is tied with Rod Woodson for most career defensive touchdowns with 13. He also is second all time in interceptions returned for touchdowns, with 11.
- ^ 1997 - 63rd Award Charles Woodson Michigan Cornerback from Heisman.com.
- ^ "2006 NFL Stats". NFL.com. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
- ^ "Charles Woodson, CB for the Green Bay Packers". NFL.com. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
- ^ http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/def_int_career.htm
By Dean Hanley
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