Former Steelers great Rod Woodson and Buffalo defensive end Bruce Smith, both eligible for the first time, highlight the 133 nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009, released yesterday.
Woodson would be the first post-Steel Curtain-era Steelers player inducted into the Hall of Fame and the first since John Stallworth was inducted in 2002. He was voted to the NFL's prestigious all-75th anniversary team and played 17 seasons as a cornerback and safety in the NFL.
He played his first 10 seasons as a cornerback with the Steelers, then left as a free agent and played with San Francisco, Baltimore and Oakland, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens.
Woodson made the Pro Bowl 11 times and his 71 career interceptions rank third all time in the NFL.
Hall of Fame selectors will whittle the list to 25 modern-era semifinalists next month, then to 15 finalists. A final vote will take place Jan. 31, when between four and seven members are selected from the 15 finalists and two senior nominees, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrye. Former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson, linebackers Kevin Greene and Hardy Nickerson, personnel director Art Rooney Jr. and coach Buddy Parker are repeat nominees, as are former Pitt linemen Russ Grimm and Mark May and linebacker Rickey Jackson.
The complete list of nominees
First-Year Eligible Nominees
-- Larry Centers, Brian Mitchell (also KR/PR)
-- Shannon Sharpe, Frank Wycheck
-- Lincoln Kennedy
-- John Randle (DE/DT), Bruce Smith (DE), Dana Stubblefield (DT)
-- Jessie Armstead
-- Darren Woodson (S), Rod Woodson (CB/S)
-- Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Jim Plunkett, Phil Simms, Ken Stabler, Joe Theismann, Doug Williams
-- Ottis Anderson, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Greg Pruitt (also KR/PR), Herschel Walker, Ricky Watters
-- Cliff Branch, Harold Carmichael, Cris Carter, Wes Chandler, Gary Clark, Isaac Curtis, Henry Ellard, Irving Fryar, Roy Green, Harold Jackson, Herman Moore, Stanley Morgan, Andre Reed, Sterling Sharpe
-- Mark Bavaro, Todd Christensen, Ben Coates, Russ Francis, Brent Jones, Steve Jordan
-- Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Jim Covert (T), Randy Cross (G/C), Dave Dalby (C), Dermontti Dawson (C), Ray Donaldson (C), Russ Grimm (G), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Kent Hill (G/T), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Mike Kenn (T), Bob Kuechenberg (G), Jim Lachey (T), Henry Lawrence (G/T), Mark May (G/T/C), Randall McDaniel (G), Max Montoya (G), Marvin Powell (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)
-- Ray Childress (DT/DE), Richard Dent (DE), Chris Doleman (DE/LB), Carl "Big Daddy" Hairston (DE/DT), Charles Haley (DE/LB), Ed "Too Tall" Jones (DE), Cortez Kennedy (DT), Joe Klecko (DE/DT/NT), Steve McMichael (DT/NT), Leslie O'Neal (DE), Fred Smerlas (NT), Art Still (DE)
-- Cornelius Bennett, Robert Brazile, Kevin Greene (LB/DE), Ken Harvey, Rickey Jackson, Tom Jackson, Clay Matthews, Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Hardy Nickerson, Chris Spielman, Pat Swilling, Darryl Talley, Derrick Thomas
-- Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Deron Cherry (S), Raymond Clayborn (CB), Kenny Easley (S), Lester Hayes (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), Ken Riley (CB), Eugene Robinson (S), Donnie Shell (S), Louis Wright (CB)
-- Rich Camarillo (P), Ray Guy (P), Nick Lowery (K), Reggie Roby (P)
-- Steve Tasker
-- Don Coryell, Tom Flores, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Clark Shaughnessy
-- Bud Adams, Gil Brandt, C.O. Brocato, Leo Carlin, Ed DeBartolo, Jr., Ben Dreith, Bob Harlan, Jerry Jones, Art Modell, Art Rooney Jr., Ed Sabol, Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue, Ralph Wilson, Jr., Ron Wolf, George Young
Finalist in 2008