February 28, 2021

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Charles Woodson elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021, Browns Kevin Stefanski NFL coach of the year

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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.

Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson after playing his final home in 2015

More:Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers enters elite company with third NFL MVP award

More:Colts legend Peyton Manning leads 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

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 late Bill Nunn, a scout and player personnel director with the Steelers from 1968-2014; safety John Lynch who played with Tampa Bay from 1993-2003 and Denver from 2004-2007 and had 26 interceptions and more than 1,000 tackles; and, coach Tom Flores who won two Super Bowl titles with the Raiders, the first as a wild-card team. 

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award was earned by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. 

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.

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