With an interception returned for a touchdown last week against the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall joined elite company, becoming the fifth active player to have at least 40 picks in his career.
He joined a club that features Houston’s Ed Reed (61 interceptions in 12 seasons), Oakland’s Charles Woodson (55 in 16), Denver’s Champ Bailey (52 in 15) and Atlanta’s Asante Samuel (50 in 11).
On Sunday, Hall will see Woodson, who at just more than a week shy of his 37th birthday is the elder statesman of that group.
Hall tends to have a love-hate relationship with Redskins fans. At times, he draws praise as one of the defense’s top playmakers. But he also endures harsh criticism when he gives up big plays or commits personal fouls.
Hall has Woodson’s respect, however. Woodson this week praised Hall both for his playmaking ability and longevity.
“I think DeAngelo is one of those guys that’s been able to stick around in the game for a long time and that’s because he’s a playmaker,” Woodson said during a conference call Wednesday with reporters assigned to covering the Redskins. “He’s been able to make plays, you see he scored twice already this year, and he continues to put the ball in the end zone. So when you’re a playmaker, you stick around in this league, and that’s why he’s done as well as he has.”
In Week 1, Hall scored on fumble recovery that he returned 75 yards for a touchdown. Sunday’s pick-six marked the eighth touchdown of his 11-year career. Four have come off interceptions, and four have come off fumble recoveries.
Woodson, who has scored 12 touchdowns (11 off interceptions and one off a fumble recovery), said that health, mental toughness, preparation and sharp instincts stand out as the key to the longevity that he, Hall, Reed, Bailey and Samuel have experienced.
“First and foremost, you’ve got to be blessed to not have the type of injuries that can take you away from the game for a long time,” Woodson said. “Two, I think you’ve got to make plays. If you make plays, you can stick around. You’ve got to take care of your body. You’ve got to make sure you’re in tip-top shape. You’ve always heard this about the defensive backs, but you’ve got to have short-term memory. There’s going to be some things that are going to happen out there on the field that you’ve got to bounce back the next play and continue to play.”