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'Irreplaceable' Darren Woodson Deserves To Be In The Cowboys Ring Of Honor

A first-time Hall of Fame semi-finalist in 2015, Darren Woodson merits induction in the team's Ring of Honor during the upcoming season.

The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports

With the coming of the 2015 NFL season four years will have passed since team owner Jerry Jones has inducted a player into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. There are a handful of deserving players, but arguably the most deserving of the honor is former safety Darren Woodson. Since Woody left the game in December of 2004, there has been a hole at safety that the team has not been able to fill. Perhaps the greatest mark of any player's true value is how difficult he is for his organization to replace.

From the time that Woodson joined the Cowboys in 1992 through his retirement, he accounted for more tackles than any other player in the Cowboys illustrious history. Darren accounted for 1,350  stops, After serving primarily as a nickel back and special teams player during his rookie season, Woody earned a starting role for his second professional season. Wasting little time, he quickly became one of the best safeties in the game.

He did not start out his football career as a safety. At Arizona State he was an undersized linebacker whose lack of size led to questions about his ability to play at the professional level. To then Dallas defensive coordinator Dave Campo, a young Woodson looked like "a safety in waiting". The team took a gamble based largely on coach Campo's input, and they invested their second-round selection of the 1992 draft on him. It proved to be one of the best moves of the early part of the Jerry Jones era. He would go on to play a vital role in three Super Bowl winning efforts.

Woodson repaid the coach's confidence by becoming one of the most intimidating hitters in the league. He was equally effective as both a run stopping strong safety and as a pass defending free safety. Woody was that rare type of player who changed the way his position was supposed to be played. Five times over his career Woody was named to the Pro Bowl. He was also named All- Pro on three occasions. It would be easy to argue that, were it not for a prejudice against safeties, Darren Woodson would already be enshrined in to Canton's Hallowed Halls.

That argument is neither here nor there, and it is a matter for the selection committee to decide. Regardless of what they do, the time has come for the Cowboys to take matters in their own hands and add the name of Darren Woodson to the Ring of Honor. His play, and his conduct away from the game, certainly indicate that Woodson is worthy to take his rightful place along side his teammates from the dynasty years and the Cowboys legends who came before him. Woody was every bit as important as guys like Aikman, Irvin, Smith, and Haley. He should be honored as such.