Woodson picks off NFC award

The cornerback plays through a broken toe to be named defensive player of the month

Even with only nine healthy toes, Charles Woodson was the NFC's best defensive player in the first month of the season.

The battered but big-play Packers cornerback was named the conference defensive player of the month, the league announced on Thursday.

Woodson, playing with a broken toe that hasn't allowed him to practice the last few weeks, is tied with teammate Nick Collins and Washington's Chris Horton for the NFC lead with three interceptions, including pickoffs returned for touchdowns in Week 2 against Detroit and Week 4 against Tampa Bay.

It's the first player-of-the-month award for Woodson, an 11-year pro and four-time Pro Bowler.

"Woodson's special. It's very rare that a person like that comes along and you get a chance to play with or coach," defensive backs coach Lionel Washington said earlier in the week about Woodson's ability to play without practice.

"Woodson's one of those guys who prepares himself week in and week out. He understands the game of football. He knows how to play the game of football. Real smart football player, and I think that's his biggest asset as far as him not practicing. He goes in there and studies every film, every play, every snap of his opponent. He's going to know exactly what they're going to do. He understands route recognition."

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was named the NFC's offensive player of the month and Eagles punter Sav Rocca earned the special-teams honor. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Chargers kick returner Darren Sproles captured the AFC awards.

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