Nine-time Pro Bowl defender Charles Woodson and outstanding Detroit Lions Broad recipient Calvin Johnson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday his freshman year.
The accession of the Modern Age finalists to Canton is earlier Pittsburgh Steelers Guard Alan Faneca, elected in his sixth year of franchise.
Also included in the class of 2021 is earlier Dallas Cowboys Wide receiver Drew Pearson, who was elected as a senior candidate, and former Steelers scout / HR manager Bill Nunn, who is posthumously placed in the contributor category. Former Raiders and Seattle Seahawks Trainer Tom Flores, the only finalist in the Trainer category, is also signed for Canton, said a source ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez.
The Class of 2021, currently unveiled during the NFL Honors broadcast on CBS, was selected by the hall’s selection committee during a virtual meeting on Jan. 19. The new Hall of Famers will be anchored in Canton during a multi-day event from August 5th to 9th. The extended anchorage weekend will also include ceremonies for the Hall’s Class of 2020 as well as the Centennial Class of Hall of Famers, selected as part of the league’s 100th anniversary. Both were canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The 2020 class of the hall includes Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James, and Troy Polamalu. The Centennial class includes Harold Carmichael, Jim Covert, Bill Cowher, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Jimmy Johnson, Alex Karras, Steve Sabol, Donnie Shell, Herzog Slater, Mac Speedie, Ed Sprinkle, Paul Tagliabue and George Young.
Woodson, the 2009 League Defensive Player of the Year, was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and ended his 18-year career fifth in interceptions with Ken Riley, 65.
He led the league in interceptions with nine for that packer in 2009 and earned a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay the following season.
The cornerback turned safety also forced 33 fiddles in his career, recorded 20 sacks and had three 90 tackle seasons, including 113 tackles with the Raiders at the age of 38.
Johnson played for the Lions for nine seasons before abruptly retiring after the 2015 season when he had 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. He recorded five receiving seasons from 1,200 yards and ranks 31st in career receiving season.
Because of the Lions’ fighting – which later contributed to his resignation – Johnson only played in two postseason. He finished with 211 yards and two touchdowns in his first appearance after the season, a 45-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC wildcard round after the 2011 season.
“The height of all the work, all the grind, all the ups and downs that you’ve been through just to shine on the level and have the opportunity to be below such greats, I’m sleeping with a smile tonight “Johnson said on NFL Honors when he heard of his election.
Faneca was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and is one of 12 guards in NFL history to be named All Pro first-team six times or more – he was six-time All Pro first-team, a series that was only broken when the Steelers needed him to move left for most of the 2003 season due to injuries to other players.
Pearson was the only first-team selection for the 1970s All-Decade team that was not previously anchored in the Hall of Fame. Pearson was a former college quarterback who made the Cowboys list as an unattended rookie wide receiver. He was one of the elites of his time. His career was cut short by liver damage from a car accident at the age of 33.
Nunn was a scouting pioneer who began advising NFL teams on players from the country’s historically black colleges and universities whom he had rated as a sports journalist. Nunn later spent more than four decades with the Steelers and was a key figure in the team’s dynasty in the 1970s and returned to the Super Bowl in the decades that followed. He passed away in 2014.
Flores won Super Bowl rings as a player, assistant coach and head coach for an AFL championship as a player. Flores and Hall of Famer Mike Ditka are the only people in NFL history to have been Super Bowl winners as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. His nine seasons as a Raiders coach included two Super Bowl wins, an 8-3 postseason record and a playoff win of 0.727 percent, just behind Vince Lombardi.