LAS VEGAS – Darren Woodson believes he should be a Hall of Famer. Darren Woodson believes he will be a Hall of Famer one day.
But that day has not arrived as the former Cowboys safety was left on the doorsteps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the second straight year.
A finalist yet again, Woodson was passed over for the 2024 Class, which was announced Thursday before NFL Honors, just three days before Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.
The 2024 Hall of Fame class included Dwight Freeney, Devin Hester, Julius Peppers, Andre Johnson, Patrick Willis, Steve McMichael and Randy Gradishar.
"I'm happy for the guys that got nominated. They're much deserving of that," Woodson said on Thursday. "I'd be lying if I told you I'm not disappointed. I'm disappointed that I'm not going into the Hall of Fame. I can't control the outcome. My entire life has been that way. I've always had to work myself back up. Thing were hard sometimes in my life, but they eventually just worked out. And I'm banking that at some point, this will work out."
Woodson, the Cowboys' all-time leader in tackles with 1,350, played 12 seasons from 1992-2003. He's a five-time Pro Bowler and helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls.
"You can't do anything. It's not like I can go back and play this game or do something to convince someone. It is what it is," Woodson said. "The work is out there. For me, the hardest thing is that I put this work out there a long time ago. A lot of that is just forgotten in time. It sucks, but it's the reality."
The Hall of Fame process begins every year with over 100 potential candidates that are cutdown to 25 semifinalists and then 15 finalists, which were announced in December. This is the second year Woodson has made it to the round of 15.
A year ago, he was in Phoenix, his hometown, for the announcement and said he was "disappointed, but not broken" by the news.
This year, Woodson's sentiments are more of the same, especially for those close to him.
"I'm not so much disappointed for myself, I'm more disappointed for my family. They've been with me through this for so long. If it happens, it happens. Good willing that it happens some time soon."
Whether that occurs next year or the year after or even a few years down the road, Woodson remains confident that he'll someday wear that coveted Gold Jacket.
"My confidence is that it's going to happen," Woodson said. "Again, it's never been the easy road for me – in anything in my life. Nothing has been easy for me. I'm an owner of two businesses. In those businesses, we have our ups and downs. But I'm a firm believer that I'm deserving of it. And I still believe one day it's going to happen."