Charles Woodson Draws Attention of NFL, Too Bad He Doesn't Want it

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2009

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers returns an interception against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 25, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Ever since he won the Heisman Trophy in 1997, Green Bay Packers' Charles Woodson has been trying to live up to the hype.

Whether or not he's lived up to the other people's hype is irrelevant, all that matters to Woodson is how he lives up to his own standards.

Before the Green Bay Packers played the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving last month, FOX aired a piece on how Woodson recently donated $2 million to the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, for pediatric research.

In the interview, Woodson downplayed the whole incident, not wanting to draw attention to the kind-hearted donation.

He also downplays his actions on the field. It's just him doing what he's paid to do: play football. However, the attention wasn't always there after his award-winning year.

In his first year in the NFL, Woodson played all 16 games and had five interceptions, earning him NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Woodson spent 1998-2005 as a member of the Raiders, missing parts of the 2002 and 2005 season due to injuries.

He never seemed to live up to the expectations that fans had in Oakland. After all, he was the Heisman Trophy winner.

Woodson played eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders, totaling just 17 interceptions, having five different years with just a single interception.

After his injury-plagued season of 2005, he became a free agent, where the Packers signed Woodson to a seven year, $52 million deal.

Some Packer fans and many experts could not figure out the signing, noting that Woodson hasn't proved anything since his days at Michigan and he was a dud in Oakland.

Looking back at it now, it may have just been that he needed to get out of Oakland, period. There's a reason they call Oakland "The Black Hole". It's not because of the fans. Playing in Oakland in the past few decades has a habit of sucking the talent out of some players.

But now, in his fourth year with Green Bay, Woodson has certainly silenced the critics. With three games remaining this year, Woodson already has 27 interceptions (2006-8, 2007-4, 2008-7, *2009-8).

Woodson, now 33-years-old and in his 12th NFL season, may have lost some speed, but he has not lost the physicality.

With eight interception already this year, Woodson is tied atop the NFL (leads GB), and is third on the Packers with 64 tackles. He also has four forced fumbles alone this season, and six TDs as a Green Bay Packer.

Woodson is the front runner for being named the NFL's Defensive MVP, with Reggie White being the only Packers player to win the award, in 1998.

Woodson will continue to downplay his exceptional play this year, and shift the focus to how the Green Bay Packers are living up to the hype with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.

Because in the end, Woodson knows that the team's success is more important than any individual honor.