The Packers and Woodson agreed to a two-year contract extension on Thursday that will keep the NFL's reigning defensive player of the year with the team through 2014.
"I expressed to my agent that this is where I want to be," he said.
The 33-year-old Woodson is coming off of his finest season, with a league-co-leading nine interceptions, four forced fumbles and two sacks. He is the first player in NFL history with seven interceptions and two sacks in back-to-back seasons since sacks became an official stat in 1982. Remarkably, Woodson has 28 interceptions in four seasons with the Packers compared to 17 interceptions in eight seasons with the Raiders. His eight defensive touchdowns are a team record, and he's one touchdown away from becoming only the third defender in NFL history to score 10 touchdowns.
In short, Woodson has built a Hall of Fame-worth resume while with the Packers.
Talks started with Woodson telling his agent, Carl Poston, that he wanted do finish his career with the Packers. At the end of last season, Poston put together a package, and the talks culminated with the extension.
"What was key on this deal is that the team essentially made a three-year commitment to Woodson where he can make over $33 million over the next three years. Overall, it's a new five-year deal with a max value of over $55 million that has $21 million in advances and bonuses," Poston said to Fox31 in Denver and Showtime's "Inside the NFL."
The signing comes two days after the Jets handed Darrelle Revis a four-year, $46 million contract that will pay him $7.5 million this season and includes an $18 million bonus in 2011.
Asked if he's getting paid what he deserves, Woodson smiled and said: "Absolutely. I've played a long time. I've been blessed to get this far. At 33, which I've been reminded all the time how old I am, not bad at all."
Woodson laughed at the notion that he'd play until he's 40, and said he "hopefully" will be able to play out the terms of the contract. Remaining a top-shelf cornerback at 37 or 38 might seem unlikely, but he's certainly defied Father Time with his combination of hard work and superior study skills. Not only was he the defensive player of the year last year, but he was the NFC's defensive player of the month three times.
"Right now, this will probably be my last (contract)," Woodson said.
Woodson signed with the Packers in 2006, mostly because nobody other than Packers general manager Ted Thompson was courting him. He frequently clashed with coach Mike McCarthy during those early days. Fast forward, and Woodson is considered the soul of the team and much more than a mentor to the Packers' young defensive backs.
"It was a gradual thing," Woodson said of how those initial feelings about the Packers had changed. "The more people that I met around here in the community and throughout Wisconsin and then just playing -- playing here with the guys that we have, the organization, how committed they are with their players, the way they take care of their players, it was a gradual process. I started to realize what I had in Green Bay."
"Year 1 was different than Year 5," McCarthy said. "He has really grown in the community. I know he likes it here. It has been neat to watch him go through some exciting things in his personal life, but he has been an outstanding football player for us since Day 1. I think the new defense really highlights his skills and his abilities. I would look at him as a team captain. I know we don't have team captains, but he is very well-respected in the locker room and has done a great job for the Green Bay Packers."
Woodson also has matured from the player who occasionally found trouble in Oakland. He's married now, with a son and another child due in November. It's not that the definition of having fun has changed since his arrival in Green Bay, he said, it's whether or not he does it. As a family man now, the man-on-the-town fun has been replaced by such harmless activities as going to the mall.
"Mainly, it's being married," Woodson said. "Being here, yeah, not being in a big city, where there's always something going on that you can be into, that takes part in it. But being married, a son, going home after work. If I was in Oakland, who knows where I'd go after work? It might not be home. Might be downtown, or somewhere outside of Oakland, whatever."
He's also matured on the field into one of the team's big leaders. Woodson has spent extra time talking to undrafted rookie Sam Shields, who will be the team's third cornerback to enter the season, just like he's done with Tramon Williams. Once Woodson arrived, safety Nick Collins went from a solid starter to a two-time Pro Bowler.
"A great leader, mentor, helps a lot of the young guys once they enter the league," Collins said. "He's played the game, been around the game a long time, and just his knowledge of the game, it helps you play a little faster and understand what's going on because he's always communicating, letting you know what he's going to do. And he's like a big brother to all of us. If he's getting a new contract, congrats, it's well-deserved. He's a hard worker, he brings his lunch pail to work every day."
In the end, Woodson's decision to finish his career in Green Bay was a no-brainer. He plays in a scheme that caters to his talents and finally has a chance to win that elusive Super Bowl ring. Woodson is the lynch pin to defensive coordinator Dom Capers' scheme, and Woodson "loves" being the key chess piece in Capers' weekly game plans. With the foundation in place to be contenders for at least the next few years, Woodson saw no reason to see if the grass was greener somewhere else.
"I mean, we've got it here," he said. "We've got the players here to get it done, we've got the coaches staff to get the job done. It's all going to rest on our shoulders, the players to go out there to get it done. I absolutely believe that our vision as a team is to get there, and I think we can do it."
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