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'1-2-3, White House!' Woodson finds voice for Pack

 FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2011, file photo Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson celebrates after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler du...
 Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, left, and safety Nick Collins enjoy a laugh during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in G...

Packers Wise Woodson Football

FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2011, file photo Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson celebrates after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler du...

Packers Wise Woodson Football

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, left, and safety Nick Collins enjoy a laugh during an NFL football practice Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, in G...

For a guy relatively new at giving locker room speeches, Charles Woodson certainly knows how to bring down the house.
Immediately after the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in last weekend's NFC Championship game, Woodson went to the middle of the locker room to address the team.
He had been thinking about President Barack Obama's promise to attend the Super Bowl if his favorite team, the Bears, were playing in it. And after the Packers beat the Bears to earn a trip to the Super Bowl instead, Woodson used the President's pledge to fire up his teammates.
In a video clip of the speech on the Packers' website, Woodson starts talking calmly about the team sticking together as one _ and then he cuts loose.
"And check this," Woodson said, his voice rising. "If the President don't want to come watch us in the Super Bowl, guess what? We'll go see him!"
Amid the shouts from his teammates, Woodson led a cheer: "1-2-3 ... White House!"
Super Bowl winners are traditionally invited to the White House, and Woodson found a good-natured way to talk some smack to the President himself this week, autographing a jersey for Obama with the message, "See you at the White House. Go Packers."
It's the natural next step in Woodson's evolution as a leader.
He was The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year last season. He's a force against the run and pass, a shutdown cover man who pops up all over the field. After averaging seven interceptions in the previous four seasons, Woodson had only two this season as teams avoided throwing his way. Yet he still achieved a career high of 92 tackles. And several teammates, including fellow cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, have credited him with helping them get better.
But the 13-year veteran hadn't been particularly vocal in his leadership until now.
After rotating captains during the regular season, the Packers took a player vote to elect six captains for the playoffs. Woodson was selected, along with Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Greg Jennings, linebacker A.J. Hawk, special teams standout Jarrett Bush and kicker Mason Crosby.
The other five captains then decided that Woodson should be in charge of talking to the team.
"The other captains kind of nominated me without any voting process, they kind of pushed me out there to be the guy to do it," Woodson said. "And it was fine with me. I feel like I've played this game a long time, played it at a high level. I feel like the things I can say to the team are things that mean something to them, and I can give them something that maybe I've been through and just shed a little light on this process. So it just kind of happened that way."
Rodgers knew he was the right choice.
"Anytime he speaks, I think he's starting to realize he has a lot of respect in the locker room and guys listen to him, they appreciate what he has to say," Rodgers said. "And he's pretty good at it, too."
Woodson isn't just winging it up there.
"You don't want to just go up there and rant," Woodson said. "You want to give it some thought because you're talking to your peers, and at the same time you're talking at a time where the games are bigger than ever."
All that said, Woodson remains one of the guys. Defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins joked that Woodson's age (34) is the thing that makes him most qualified.
"Anytime you've got somebody that's as old as him, he's like the senior citizen of the team," Jenkins said.
Woodson, who went to the January 2003 Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders and lost to Tampa Bay, said he's driven to get a ring before he retires.
"There's still some more to get to," Woodson said. "But it's an everyday, every minute, every second thought for myself."


Updated : 2021-02-26 01:18 GMT+08:00