IRVING, Texas – Few players fit the bill to earn a spot in the Ring of Honor better than Darren Woodson.
A spot next to the all-time greats is something the former Cowboys safety, who holds the team record in tackles and spent his entire 13-year career in Dallas, thinks about "all the time" and would cherish.
"You talk about your proudest moments," Woodson said. "My proudest moments were my babies, my kids that I've had, my three kids. But, as far as sports are concerned, that would be my proudest moment."
That's a result of Woodson learning the importance of that honor.
Woodson didn't realize what it meant to be in the Ring of Honor early in his career until Roger Staubach approached him about it. It didn't take long for the young safety to understand.
"We were at a picnic and a lot of the old, former players were there," Woodson said. "Roger told me, he said, 'I watched film on you, I know you, you're going to be in the Ring of Honor one of these days.' And I said, 'What is the Ring of Honor?'
"I had no idea what it was, until the first day I went inside Texas Stadium and looked up and saw the Ring of Honor, and I knew exactly what it was – great legends that played the game, wore the star proudly. I felt like I did that over my time as a Dallas Cowboy."
It's almost impossible to construct a better prototype of a player moving from linebacker to safety than Woodson. The transition didn't take much time, as he racked up 155 tackles in just his second season in the league. [embedded_ad]
Then came the interceptions.
He finished his career with 23 of them, five of which came in his third season in the league. Woodson had at least one pick 10 straight seasons from 1994-2003. Meanwhile, he continued to rack up tackles and still leads the franchise with 1,350 combined career tackles. Lee Roy Jordan is second in franchise history with 1,236.
The Cowboys haven't added to the Ring of Honor since 2011, and as of now, owner/general manager Jerry Jones hasn't indicated whether or not Woodson will eventually have a spot.
But the former Cowboys safety, who's now moved on from his playing days to become an analyst at ESPN and a founding investor in FanPrint – a sports apparel E-retailer benefitting former NFL players in need – hopes his time will come.
"I gave them all I had, all I needed to give and all I had at the same time, and I think my career speaks for itself," Woodson said. "Hopefully, one day the Jones family will put me up in that Ring of Honor – would love to be there."