GREEN BAY – Former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson is one of 15 modern-era finalists for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021.
Woodson, in his first year of eligibility, posted 38 interceptions and 115 passes defensed from 2006-12 in Green Bay. He holds franchise records for the most touchdowns on interceptions (nine) and the most defensive touchdowns (10). Woodson is one of three players in NFL history with 25 or more interceptions with two teams (Oakland, Green Bay).
Former Packers safety LeRoy Butler is also among this year's 15 modern-era finalists.
"I'm just enjoying this moment," said Woodson after the announcement was made on NFL Network. "I think what you immediately do is you start reliving some of those moments out there playing on the football field. It's not lost on me, to be here in this moment, to be a Hall of Fame finalist in the first year. It takes a lot to get here, to this point. For the guys that are at this point, you really had to make an impact on the game and I'm proud of that."
Lauded for his exceptional talent, playmaking abilities and outstanding leadership, Woodson was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-11) while with the Packers and led the league in interceptions in 2009 and 2011.
In 2009, arguably his finest season as a pro, he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. His nine interceptions that year are tied for second most in a season in Packers history.
"I think he's the most talented guy that I ever played with," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers of Woodson in November. "His ability to impact the game was unbelievable. He for sure made me a better player going against him every day in practice. He's one of the most savvy defensive players that I've ever seen on the field. Incredible ability to diagnose routes in real time, fantastic in his disguise."
In recognition of his incredible toughness, Woodson was honored by his teammates with the 2010 Ed Block Courage Award, the same year he helped lead the Packers, with one of the league's best defenses, to a victory in Super Bowl XLV.
The 15 modern-era finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee next month before Super Bowl LV, along with the Pro Football Hall of Fame's coach, contributor and senior nominees: Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson, respectively.
While there is no overall set number for any class of enshrinees, the bylaws for the Selection Committee provide that between four and eight new members will be selected, but a maximum of five can come from the 15 modern-era finalists.
15 modern-era Hall of Fame finalists
- Peyton Manning, QB – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-2015 Denver Broncos
- Calvin Johnson, WR – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
- Torry Holt, WR -- 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
- Reggie Wayne, WR -- 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
- Charles Woodson, DB – 1998-2005, 2013-2015 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers
- Ronde Barber, DB – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars
- LeRoy Butler, S -- 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
- John Lynch, FS -- 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
- Jared Allen, DE – 2004-2007 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-2015 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
- Richard Seymour, DE/DT -- 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
- Zach Thomas, LB -- 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
- Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-1996 Atlanta Falcons
- Sam Mills, LB -- 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers