Cornerbacks arrive with a smile

Harris, Woodson bring sense or humor, willingness to work to OTAs and the upcoming minicamp.

The good news: Veteran cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris were at this week's voluntary organized team activities.

The better news: Neither acted like a child forced to clean his room while the rest of the neighborhood kids were playing video games.

Both were in especially good humor in the locker room on Wednesday, with both cracking jokes to explain their presence.

"What happened is, I got on the plane and I was headed south, and somehow we took a wrong turn and I ended up here," Woodson said. "So, here I am."

Harris chalked up his decision to being married.

"Any time you get a chance to leave the house, it's good," Harris said with a huge laugh.

Woodson has been in Green Bay for the last two weeks of OTAs, and this was Harris' first week. Both plan to practice in the final week of OTAs next week, which lead to the June 17-19 mandatory minicamp.

While not going so far as to say he wants to be a team leader, Woodson said his presence was made more important with the retirement of Brett Favre.

"It's going to be a transition period for the Packers without Brett being around, so I guess we need as many as the vets back as possible," he said, adding, "From a personal standpoint. I'm not back trying to take the role of the leader or nothing like that. I just felt like I needed to be here."

Harris, too, felt it was time to be here, saying it was time to "get to work" and that he missed the locker room atmosphere.

"Just timing. Get your timing down," Harris said when asked what he hoped to accomplish at the OTAs. "Just get crisp and get into football shape. You're in shape, but you're not in football shape.

"You can work as hard as you want but you still got to get in football shape, a football tempo."

Getting in shape certainly isn't an issue. Both are renowned for their workout habits, which goes a long way toward explaining why coach Mike McCarthy wasn't exactly stressed by their absence at the start of OTAs. Still, with a training camp schedule cut short by two practices this year because of their late start camp, McCarthy was happy to see Harris and Woodson on the field.

"We have a very distorted training camp schedule, compared to the ones we have had in the past," McCarthy said. "There is an amount of work that needs to get done in the offseason. It's important for Al to be here, just like everybody else, to make sure he is getting ready to go, because the practices are less than what we have done the last two years in training camp."

Harris, who will turn 34 on Dec. 7, is the oldest player on the team, and Woodson, who will turn 32 on Oct. 7, is the fourth-oldest player on the roster. Woodson, not surprisingly, has heard the chatter.

"People will always keep what they hear on TV," Woodson said. "You hear a lot of the sportscasters speak about my age, Al's age, and how we've maybe got another year left or whatever it is. You hear it all the time, so people repeat it when you're in the streets or around barbershops or whatever.

"I know I can still play. Al knows he can still play. We're just around here getting a little extra work in the offseason so we'll be ready when the season starts."

With Woodson and Harris spending a considerable amount of time in Green Bay this month, don't doubt that they'll be ready and as strong as ever.

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com


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