As twilight sets on Charles Woodson’s career, it is time to reflect on just what type of impact he has had while wearing the green and gold.
When he signed as a free agent with the Packers, many thought his career was over. Coming off a broken leg in 2005, Woodson had a good, but far from great, eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He had seemingly fallen into the category of Heisman Trophy winners whose NFL careers fell far short of expectations.
It is fair to say that going to Green Bay not only salvaged Woodson’s career. In the process, he has become one of the best ever to put on a Packers jersey, perhaps to the point that no one else should ever wear number 21 again.
In his seven seasons with the Packers, Woodson has undergone a metamorphosis. He has gone from a top cover corner (remember he and Al Harris were considered the best man to man cover corners in the league) to a hybrid cornerback/linebacker/safety with a penchant for making the big play. His impact on the different defenses the Packers have run during his tenure is immeasurable.
Just how much of an impact has that been? Impressive is an understatement.
His 38 interceptions ranks fifth all time in Packers history.His ten defensive touchdowns ranks first in the Packers record books.
Led the NFL twice in interceptions (2009 with 9, 2011 with 7)
Forced 15 fumbles in his seven seasons, recovering 6.
11 1/2 of his 17 career sacks came in a Packers uniform.
Won the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year becoming the first Packer to do so since Reggie White did so in 1998.
He was the inspirational leader on the Packers during their Super Bowl run following the 2010 season.
That is a very impressive resume for a mere seven seasons.
In many ways, Woodson’s career as a Packer parallels Reggie White’s career. Signed as a free agent before the 1993 season, White spent a mere six seasons in Green Bay, but his impact was exceptional. He helped restore the Packers to a power in the NFL. He was named Defensive Player of the Year. White set the team record for most sacks (since broken by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila), and was a major reason the Lombardi trophy returned to Green Bay after the 1996 season. White helped guide the team back to the Super Bowl following the 1997 season. And perhaps most importantly, Reggie White was the inspirational leader for the team which rose back to prominence in the 90’s.
His name and number 92 are forever remembered as being one of the five (six if you include Brett Favre) numbers which no one will ever wear again to honor the impact the player had on the history of the Green Bay Packers.
Charles Woodson’s impact on the team has been immense. And his jersey being retired is something the Packers should consider at some point in the future.
If you take Woodson’s accomplishments on the field and lay them out, it is fair to say his number 21 deserves consideration to be retired, joining the likes of Tony Canadeo, Brett Favre, Don Hutson, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, and Reggie White as the best to ever wear the green and gold.