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News » Woodson, Dawson, Grimm could get Hall call

Woodson, Dawson, Grimm could get Hall call

Woodson, Dawson, Grimm could get Hall call
TAMPA, Fla. ? His legacy already cemented among the all-time greats, Rod Woodson will find out this weekend if it will be bronzed, too.

The former Steelers great is one of 15 finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 44-member selection committee will meet Saturday morning in Tampa to decide who gets in. Likely, four to seven men will be selected.

Other finalists include former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson and former Redskins offensive lineman and current Arizona Cardinals assistant coach Russ Grimm.

Woodson said he would be honored, but he isn't overly concerned with getting a bust in Canton, Ohio.

"I never started playing Football to be in the Hall of Fame," said Woodson, who spent 10 years knocking down passes and returning kicks and punts for the Steelers. "I started playing Little League Football because my brothers played. I just got a little bit better every year. When I got to the NFL, I played alright."


Talk in Tampa this week is that the former defensive back is a lock to be a first-ballot pick. After all, he was named to the NFL's 1990s All-Decade and 75th Anniversary teams.

Many say he redefined his position.

"I am done competing," said Woodson, who played 17 seasons. "If the writers want to put me in the Hall of Fame (that's okay); if they don't, I have a beautiful wife, five beautiful kids and ,God willing, I will wake up the next day."

Woodson, who won a Super Bowl in 2000 with the Baltimore Ravens and appeared in another with the Oakland Raiders in '02, is here this week working for the NFL Network.

There are 19 defensive backs in the Hall. Woodson can match stats with any of them. He returned 12 interceptions for touchdowns ? an NFL record ? and also found the end zone via fumble return, punt return and kick return.

"Rod was a great player," Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "When you say cornerback in our era, you say Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson. Those are the first two that come to mind."

Ike Taylor added, "He was the total package. I know I'd vote for him."

Former Rams star running back Marshall Faulk, who also works for the NFL Network, thinks it would be a mockery if Woodson doesn't make it.

"Are you kidding me? The guy has been elected to the Pro Bowl at two positions," Faulk said. "If Rod is not (a first-ballot Hall of Famer), we really have to examine this thing."

Woodson and Dawson served as honorary captains before the Steelers played the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. They would like nothing more than to join each other in the class of 2009.

"He's the first center I've ever seen snap the ball and lead for a sweep," Woodson said of Dawson. "He was a tremendous athlete. He could slam a basketball. He was a pretty good golfer, too. He was probably the strongest guy on the team. Talk to all the linebackers; they'll tell you how good he was.

"Mike Webster was there for so long. Dermontti came in and still played at such a high level."

The current Steelers also are pulling for Dawson, who retired in 2000. The offensive linemen wore No. 63 Dawson jerseys for a team photo during Tuesday's media day.

Dawson, who's a real estate developer in Lexington, Ky., was a Hall finalist in 2005, '06, '07 and '08.

Grimm, who played with the Redskins' vaunted "Hogs" offensive line of the 1980s, is more focused on Sunday's game than Saturday's Hall announcement.

"It would be great if it comes along, but it's not in my hands," Grimm said. "The guys will vote Saturday. I will sit and watch. Hopefully, I'll make it. If not, hopefully there are bigger things on Sunday."

Grimm, a Southmoreland and Pitt product, would like to follow two former Redskins into the Hall. Last year, Darrell Green and Art Monk ? finally ? got the call.

"It's hard to compare," Grimm said. "Offensive linemen don't really have any stats ? so many of this, so many of that. We'll see what happens."

Grimm won three Super Bowls as a player and one as an assistant coach with the Steelers in 2006 (XL).

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Grimm's teammate as a tight end with the Redskins, also served on Bill Cowher's staff that season.

"He's one of the best players ever at his position to play in this league," Whisenhunt said of Grimm. "I'm very hopeful he'll get in."

Even though it's the Super Bowl, and whether he admits, Grimm isn't one to forget his roots.

"I imagine if (the Cardinals) weren't here, I'd probably be rooting for Pittsburgh," he said.

Woodson also is rooting for former Broncos and Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe to get inducted.

Woodson, Sharpe, Bruce Smith and John Randle are the only first-year eligible players to make the final cut.

Players become eligible for enshrinement five years after they retire.

"To me, you look at what Shannon did to that position," Woodson said. "He was one of the trendsetters, very similar to (Kellen) Winslow. And he was strong enough to block or get open and catch a pass and take it the distance. He was the ultimate tight end.

Although, Woodson added, "If he gets in, we probably wouldn't get a word in. He'll probably talk for about an hour and a half."

There are only seven tight ends in the Hall, including Winslow and Mike Ditka.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 31, 2009

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