Milwaukee Talks: Packers CB Charles Woodson
Charles Woodson has found a football home in the last place he expected.
When the veteran cornerback signed with the Packers before the 2006 season, he did so essentially because he had no better offers. Or, more accurately, no other offers. After playing for years with the Oakland Raiders, he did not exactly put forth maximum effort to fit in with his new team in pro sports' smallest market.
All that has changed, however, as Woodson prepares for his third year in Green Bay. He's even shown up for most of the voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practices after not attending a single one his first two years, preferring instead to work out on his own in Houston.
"Usually, I work out in Houston as everybody knows. A lot of times, it's one-on-one work -- there's other guys there, but I'm motivated enough to do things on my own, working out by myself," Woodson said. "I kind of felt like I just need to be around the team. So I let the coaches know I'd be coming back up here, and here I am. So I'm pretty much here now. I'll get it done around here."
Actually, Woodson is getting a lot done around here. In fact, he'll be at Bacchus tonight, pouring his self-made wine, which he's been promoting throughout the off-season.
He's also kept busy finalizing plans to endow a scholarship at the University of Michigan, where he won the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1997 and left before completing his degree, something he's considering completing.
After an OTA practice last week, Woodson sat down in his locker and talked about all this and more. Enjoy this Milwaukee Talks with Charles Woodson.
OnMilwaukee.com: First of all, what are you doing here?
Charles Woodson: What happened is, I got on the plane and I was headed south, and somehow we took a wrong turn and I ended up here. So here I am. I said, 'Damn, what's going on?' But (the pilot) said 'Hey, we're here, we can't do anything about it. You're stuck.'
OMC: Seriously, though, you've never come to these before. Why the change?
CW: It's going to be a transition period for the Packers without Brett (Favre) around, so we need as many of the vets back, obviously, as possible. The guy hasn't missed a game in 17 years, or whatever it was. So not to have him around just for this organization, this community, is going to be a lot different. Just from a personal standpoint. I'm not back trying to take the role of the leader or nothing like that. I just felt like I needed to be here.
OMC: Are you starting to get used to being in Green Bay?
CW: I wouldn't say it's a matter of getting used to it. I'd just say, I've been here three years, and this is where I'm going to be. Of course, it was a transition period, coming here from Oakland. Being in Green Bay, not knowing anything about Green Bay, once the season was over, I was trying to get back home. Now, I've been here for a while, and different things bring me through Green Bay or Milwaukee or wherever else. I'm a Packer.
OMC: After the way last season ended with the NFC Championship Game loss to the New York Giants, there was a lot of talk that you and Al (Harris, the Packers' other over-30 Pro Bowl cornerback) were starting to show your age. Is that why you both came to OTAs?
CW: I hear it all the time. People always repeat what they hear on TV, you hear a lot of the sportscasters and those people speak about my age, Al's age, how we've maybe got another year left or whatever it is. You hear it all the time, so people repeat it when we're in the streets or around barbershops or whatever. I know I can still play. Al knows he can still play. We're just around here getting a little extra work so we'll be ready for the season to start.
OMC: So how long will you be in town? When will you go home to Atlanta?
CW: I know I'll be here through the mandatory minicamp (June 17-19).
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Wood is a classy guy. We are lucky to have he and Al, especially with how they are mentoring the next set of playmakers, Tramon Williams and Patrick Lee. I say they each have AT LEAST 3 years left in them though.
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