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Charles Woodson, Raiders great, named Hall of Fame semifinalist

Former Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson’s esteemed NFL career included stops in Oakland and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

His next stop could be Canton, Ohio.

Woodson on Tuesday was announced as one of 25 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in this, his first year of eligibility. The cornerback-turned-safety played for the Raiders from 1998 to 2005 and from 2013 to 2015, spending 2006 to 2012 with the Green Bay Packers.

Other first-time semifinalists include quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive end Jared Allen and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Woodson played college football at Michigan and in 1997 became the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, edging Manning in the voting. The Raiders selected Woodson with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft, and was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons, garnering All-Pro honors in 1999.

Woodson left the franchise, though, after the 2005 season and signed as a free agent with the Packers, with whom he rejuvenated his career. He was selected four more times to the Pro Bowl while in Green Bay, earning All-Pro honors twice and winning Super Bowl XLV with the Packers. He was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, too, totaling 74 tackles, a league-high nine interceptions and three defensive touchdowns.

Woodson returned to the Raiders as a free agent in 2013 and finished his career in Oakland with one final Pro Bowl appearance in 2015. His resume includes the Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors, nine Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro selections.

He retired with 65 interceptions, the fifth most in NFL history. His 11 interception-return touchdowns rank second all time, and he is a likely candidate for induction as one of the best defensive players of his era.

Former Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour is a semifinalist for the fourth time. He played his prime years for the New England Patriots but was traded to the Raiders before the 2009 season and played four years for the franchise — earning Pro Bowl honors in 2010 and 2011.

Seymour is a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro. He posted 57.5 career sacks and was one of the most dominant run stoppers in recent memory.

Lastly, former Raiders defensive back Eric Allen is a semifinalist for the first time. He starred for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1988 to 1994 and played three years with the New Orleans Saints before spending the twilight of his career with the Raiders from 1998 to 2001.

His accolades include six Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro nod. His 54 career interceptions rank 21st in NFL history.

The group of 25 semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 modern-era finalists, and the class of 2021 will be announced during the week of Super Bowl LV. Those inducted will be honored Aug. 8, 2021, at the hall’s museum in Canton.

Former Raiders coach Tom Flores is already a finalist, having secured recommendation from the Hall of Fame’s coach committee.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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