Former Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson became the first member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Saturday night.
The Heisman Trophy winner from Michigan was announced early in the NFL Honors show on CBS.
Woodson played in 254 games over 18 seasons, making sudden impact as the defensive rookie of the year for the Packers.
His 65 interceptions is tied for fifth in league history and includes at least one in each of his pro seasons. He led the NFL in interceptions twice, with nine in 2009 and seven in 2011.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson joined Woodson a few minutes later during the show. Johnson, known at Megatron, played from 2007-2015 with seven seasons of gaining at least 1,000 yards in receptions. He led the league twice in receiving yardage. He is the seventh receiver named to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
Joining Woodson and Johnson was Drew Pearson, an undrafted free agent receiver for the Dallas Cowboys from 1973-83 who was named to the league’s 1970’s all-decade team and the lone senior candidate on this year’s ballot; guard Alan Faneca who played from 1998-2007 with the Steelers and then with the Jets and Arizona Cardinals, missing just one game in his career.
The Class is expected to be headlined by former Indianapolis and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
Other awards included:
— Washington QB Alex Smith as comeback player of the year, returning from 17 surgeries on an injured leg that at one time threatened his life.
— Kevin Stefanski who took the Browns the playoffs for the first time since 2003 as coach of the year.
— Titans running back Derrick Henry as AP offensive player of the year.
— The Rams’ Aaron Donald as AP defensive player of the year for the third time.
— AP offensive rookie of the year went to quarterback Justin Herbert of the Chargers. Washington edge rusher Chase Young was AP defensive rookie of the year.