Darren Woodson hopes to be in Hall 'discussion'

IRVING, Texas – Last week I stumped for Darren Woodson to be the next member of the Dallas Cowboys to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame after teammate Charles Haley was elected the day before Super Bowl XLIX.

On Tuesday, Woodson was the host of the Hublot event at Boardwalk Ferrari in Plano, Texas, featuring DeMarco Murray, so we were able to ask the Cowboys’ all-time leading tackler about his chances.

Woodson was among the 26 semifinalists for the Hall but did not make the final cut.

“I hope I’m in the discussion,” Woodson said. “Charles and I had this talk the other day about where I fit in. He said the same thing, ‘Man, I’ve known for years you’ve fit in with this group,’ and talked about the multiple positions I played and the special teams. But at the same time, it’s a great feeling to see Charles get in and I want to represent it in the right way and not so much discuss my situation but discuss him and put him up on the pedestal. It’s going to be an emotional night. You always see Charles as a tough guy. He’s going to be crying up on that stand and I’m sure some of those defensive players are going to be crying as well.”

In addition to the 1,350 tackles, Woodson had 23 interceptions, 11 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl five times. He was an All-Pro three times. He was on the Cowboys’ three Super Bowl teams of the 1990s and played for five Cowboys head coaches.

If not for an offseason back injury in 2004, Woodson would have played longer and amassed more statistics.

A linebacker at Arizona State, Woodson moved to safety with the Cowboys but he also played some corner and linebacker. His versatility made him more a player for today’s game than the past.

“Trust me, I didn’t like it,” Woodson said. “My argument with Mike Zimmer was I would have had a lot more interceptions if I would have just played safety instead of the corner and the linebacker and whatnot. At the same time, I wanted to win games and if that was how they were going to utilize me, so be it. I see how the game is basically is -- now you need a safety who can cover the slot to give you multiple personnel packages that you have to match up with tight ends that catch the ball down the field. So yeah, I think I was way before my time as far as safety play.

“But there were other guys. Carnell Lake, played with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played the corner and the safety position. Rod Woodson played the corner and the nickel. That’s how I patterned my game after. I remember watching Rod Woodson on film knowing Jimmy Johnson wanted me to be that guy to cover the slot receiver and watching him play that spot. But at the same time yeah, I was one of the guys, Carnell Lake another one, (LeRoy) Butler being another one in Green Bay, those guys who played multiple positions and can move down in the box at the same time and make tackles.”

If the Hall of Fame wait is long, Woodson is hoping one day to be in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. It was something that was brought up to him during his career that he sloughed off.

“I wasn’t ever in the moment,” Woodson said. “But now that I look back on my career and look back on the guys I played with and all the success we had and being a captain since ’94, yeah I want to be in the Ring of Honor. It’s an honor to be up there with Roger Staubach and Randy White and Lee Roy Jordan and the list goes on and on. I’d love to love to be up there on that list.”