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Raiders’ Tom Flores, Charles Woodson make Hall of Fame

Updated February 6, 2021 - 10:42 pm

Raiders legend Tom Flores waited more than two decades to secure his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That wait is finally over.

Flores, 83, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the museum announced Saturday, punctuating one of the greatest all-around careers in NFL history. He quarterbacked the Raiders in their inaugural season of 1960, becoming the first Latino starting QB in professional football.

But Flores was best known as the NFL’s first minority head coach, leading the Raiders to victories in Super Bowls XV and XVIII.

He will be joined in Canton, Ohio, by another Raiders great, Charles Woodson, who was elected in his first year of eligibility. Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Alan Faneca, Drew Pearson, Bill Nunn and John Lynch round out the 2021 class.

Flores was one of three coaches with multiple championships who hadn’t been elected to the Hall of Fame, along with Buddy Parker and George Seifert. He was a finalist in 2019 and 2020.

A panel of 48 voted virtually last month.

Flores led the Raiders to a 91-56 record in nine seasons, including an 8-3 mark in postseason play. He concluded his coaching career with a 105-90 record after three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

He also called Raiders games for the team’s radio network from 1997 until 2018.

“(It’s) an incredible honor. An incredible reward for a job well done, a lifetime well done,” Flores said last month of what at the time was his prospective induction. “The final exclamation point on my career. I can look back and say ‘I did good. I did a good job.’”

Woodson, 44, didn’t have to wait nearly as long for his enshrinement.

The cornerback turned safety was a collegiate star at Michigan, becoming the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997. The Raiders drafted him with the No. 4 overall pick in 1997, and he rewarded the franchise with Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, four Pro Bowl selections and two first-team All-Pro nods from 1997 to 2005.

Woodson left Oakland as a free agent in 2006 and signed with the Packers. In Green Bay, he was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

He also helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV before returning to the Raiders in 2013.

Woodson was named to the Pro Bowl in his final season of 2015 and retired as a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time first-team All Pro. His 65 interceptions are the fifth most in NFL history, and his 11 interception-return touchdowns are the second most all time.

The class will be enshrined during a ceremony from Aug. 5 to 9. The Hall of Fame also will honor the 2020 inductees along with its centennial class of the NFL’s 100-year anniversary.

Staff reporter Vincent Bonsignore contributed to this report. Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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