The Hall of Fame Class of 2024 was announced Thursday night during NFL Honors, which included Dwight Freeney, Andre Johnson, Randy Gradishar, Patrick Willis, Julius Peppers, Devin Hester, and Steve McMichael.
The one name absent from the list was Cowboys safety Darren Woodson. The 12-year player from Arizona State was a finalist for a second season in a row. The Dallas Cowboys franchise leader in tackles will have to wait another year to reach the Hall of Fame.
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2024:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 9, 2024
The Cowboys safety spent his entire career in Dallas, from 1992 to when he retired after the 2003 season. Woodson is a three-time Super Bowl Champion, three-time first-team All-Pro, and five-time Pro Bowler. To go along with his storied career, Woodson was among the first players of his kind as a hybrid linebacker/safety.
Players in today’s NFL emulate that style of a chess piece all over the defense. Markquese Bell started as a safety in training camp, only to transition to linebacker with depleted depth at the position. Bell went on to be named the HBCU Player of the Year.
After Woodson was drafted in the second round of the 1992 draft, it took him a year to find his footing. Once he found it in his second season, the Hall of Famer never looked back. In just year two of his career, Woodson amassed over 150 combined tackles and followed it up with five interceptions in 1994. In just three seasons, Woodson was already proving to the rest of the NFL he was one of the most impactful defenders on the field.
As the Cowboys were transitioning from their dynasty run and players from the 90s teams were starting to retire, Woodson stuck around and became a valuable asset to help lead the younger players. The team’s website encapsulated Woodson’s personality during his 2015 Ring of Honor ceremony.
Woodson was one of the team’s hardest workers, and his character and leadership ability made him a very valuable asset within the framework of the team.
Another franchise setting accomplishment for Woodson is that he’s the only player in franchise history to play for five head coaches in Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo and Bill Parcells.
After getting to be a finalist for two years in a row, the arrow is certainly pointing in the direction for Woodson to be a Hall of Famer one day. That day, unfortunately, just isn’t today.