CANTON, Ohio — Rod Woodson was introduced into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 by longtime friend Tracy Porter.
“There’s really nothing I can tell anyone in this stadium or anywhere else in the world about Rod Woodson as a football player that you already don’t know,” Porter said.
Instead, Porter used anecdotes to talk about the person Woodson is off the field, using the theme, “That’s who Rod Woodson is.”
In Rod Woodson style, the 11-time Pro Bowler walked to the podium and began, “He made me sound better than I am, I’ll tell you that.”
Woodson touched on his spirituality and faith during his induction speech, speaking about the value of teamwork and family in his life. He also took the time to congratulate the other inductees in the 2009 class and their families.
“I’m honored to be in the 2009 class with good men,” Woodson said.
Woodson also said he felt obligated to thank those he thought wouldn’t get recognized, beginning with his mother and father. Emotions only got to Woodson once during his speech, when he spoke about race relations growing up and during his life as the son of a mixed marriage.
“Tell your kids, they don’t have to choose what side they’re on,” Woodson said. “God made you what you are, remember that.”
Woodson also took the time to talk about his experience during each of the stops during his 17-year career — the Steelers, 49ers, Ravens and Raiders. At one point, he told the Steelers fans in attendance he was happy they booed him when he went to the other teams; if they hadn’t, he said he would have lost some respect for them.
— Frank Tadych