Senior writer jclombardi pictures Packers rising star & CB Woodson’s profile.
Packers Rising Power In NFL.
Leader of the Packer CB Woodson: He quietly goes about his business while offering words of wisdom to younger teammates. Don’t let this chance slip away, Woodson often reminds his fellow Packers. You never know when you’ll get another one. Although Woodson is one of two current Packers to have played in a Super Bowl, he is the one whose legacy could be most bolstered by a victory. He’s already been to the Pro Bowl seven times and won the league’s defensive player of the year award. Now Green Bay’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV presents Woodson with the final challenge of his 13-year career. He has a chance to prove he’s not just another great player who will leave this game without being a champion. He knows that the elite defenders at his position won titles. Woodson’s previous opportunity to join that club came in the 2002 season, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blasted his Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII. “There isn’t a minute when I don’t think about what it would mean to win a championship,” Woodson said during a recent interview. “My list of accomplishments in this game is pretty long. But when you’re done playing, all people want to know is one thing: Did he help his team win a championship?” Woodson’s career is best summed up in two phases. The first period was with the Raiders from 1998-2005, when he played in four Pro Bowls but often seemed like a man on cruise control. Nobody was forecasting him as a future Hall of Famer in those days. He was the kind of star who passes through the league regularly, the gifted athlete who shines brightly for a few years and then vanishes without much fanfare. Now fast-forward to what’s happened since Woodson’s arrival in Green Bay in 2006. Gone are the days when he would sleep through meetings and dismiss the value of offseason conditioning. He’s become a serious student of the game, one who has registered 30 of his 47 career interceptions over the past five seasons, while also affecting the game with his blitzing and open-field tackling. Woodson now understands that legacies just don’t happen. They are carved out of tough breaks, eye-opening setbacks and the ability to capitalize on the opportunities he and his Packers teammates now have within their grasp. This is why Woodson has been adamant about keeping his current teammates focused on what lies ahead. “We talk about it all the time among the defensive backs,” he said. “And I can see that the guys are in the right frame of mind. After the NFC Championship Game win [a 21-14 victory over Chicago], a lot of guys were saying that the feeling [of heading to the Super Bowl] hadn’t sunk in yet. That’s what you want to hear. You want the guys to be thinking about the next game. Once you get past that point, then you can let all that good stuff sink in.”