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Woodson the mystery man

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl
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    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    Green Bay - Charles Woodson has the kind of memory, almost photographic, that allows him to pick up things instantly and retain them for good.




    Back in school, this could land him in hot water.

    Woodson wasn't exactly the front-row, arm-waving, "ooh, pick me!" kind of student. He could even look disinterested. Teachers were always questioning whether he was paying attention. They were sure they weren't getting through.

    Then the tests were given. To their surprise, Woodson always got a perfect or near-perfect score.

    "I even had a Spanish teacher one time who always thought I cheated in his class," the Green Bay cornerback said. "When it came time to take the test, I knew it. But during the week? He wasn't going to get that out of me.

    "I pay attention, but I am going to get what I need to get out of it and apply it to whatever I need to apply it to."

    That might help explain some of the mystery that surrounds the first-year Packers free agent. Woodson has been suspected of being a loner and a semi-dedicated player because he isn't chumming around with a posse all the time and he doesn't spend every waking hour thinking of ways to pick off Alex Smith.

    But first impressions and the pop psychology summaries that follow can turn out to be a little off. Sometimes with people, the real stuff is buried a little deeper than the surface.

    When Woodson is willing to open up, even with his little idiosyncrasies, it is clear he is not all that different from any other player.

    Yes, his career-high five interceptions in 12 games thus far have been extremely rewarding. When he got five in 1998 as a rookie, quarterbacks got wise real quick. There was no Al Harris as bookend cornerback to Woodson, so they just threw away from him.

    "I've always been in position to make plays on the ball," Woodson said. "It was always, throw it away from me. Playing in Oakland, I didn't get a lot of balls. It made the game kind of boring. I could sit on the side of the field and guard one receiver, and they wouldn't even throw the ball, depending on what type the receiver is."

    Ranking among the league leaders in interceptions is quite a contrast from his 2005 season, when he broke his leg and was out after six games.

    Still, Woodson has shoulder and knee injuries. He has managed to play every game, but what we didn't know is that he plays with a cumbersome shoulder harness and with heavily taped limbs, including a wrapped-up knee. He has been practicing only on Fridays for self-preservation.

    "The coaches have allowed me to get my body right and not have to run around there in practice every day," Woodson said. "I'd definitely be wearing myself down (if practicing every day)."

    Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said Woodson had been able to play so exceptionally despite the missed practice.

    "He's an extremely intelligent player," Sanders said. "He studies hard, stays on top of things and then when he works, he works at it."

    In a football sense, Woodson has the perfect blend of awareness, insight, talent and experience.

    So, he's just a little hard to peg outwardly. Look at his official picture on the Packers' roster. Doesn't he look miserable? Or bored stiff? Sure enough, his mother was always telling him as a kid to try to smile a little more.

    In another setting, Woodson wouldn't stick out much as an unmarried, just-turned 30-year-old with no kids. He might be the professor content with his Sunday newspaper, alone at his favorite coffee shop.

    Here, he's just the pro football player in Green Bay who doesn't mind going to the movies by himself.

    But being OK with solitude and silence is one thing. Pushing away teammates is another, and it would be a concern. Asked if he's not getting along with his teammates in the secondary or if there is bad chemistry among them, Woodson was pretty convincing.

    "That's got to be the furthest from the truth," Woodson said. "We get along great, all of us do, really. We're just struggling out in the field."

    Woodson just needs his smaller circle of friends - Harris and safety Nick Collins - and not much more. He doesn't mind the slower lifestyle of Green Bay either, since it jibes with his personality.

    Outside of football, he has his real estate interest, already owning property in Mississippi, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. When football for him will end, he's not sure. He does have a little Jim Brown and Barry Sanders in him, where it is clear that his entire life doesn't revolve around the game.

    So, then, it is unclear what his future is in Green Bay. His contract runs through 2012.

    "I know I'm here this year and I know I wanted to give it everything I had this year to try to help this team get to the playoffs, and it hasn't worked," Woodson said. "I prayed that I would stay healthy and that's been pretty good, so far as not having missed games.

    "One year at a time, is the way I'm taking it right now."
  2. dxbfan
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    dxbfan Cheesehead

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    Thanks Heathie. The last line or for that matter the end of the article sounds kind of strange for a guy signed untill 2012.
  3. Greg C.
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    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    Thanks for the article. Some people have suggested that Woodson be moved to safety at this point in his career, but he really sounds best-suited to playing CB, the loneliest position on the field.

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