Oh, baby: Woodson, Collins going to Pro Bowl

The defensive backs are the Packers' lone representatives on the NFC team that will play the AFC on Feb. 8. Collins found out about the same time he and his wife learned they will be having a baby boy on April 25. Meanwhile, Jennings is the first alternate at receiver.


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It's a boy. Oh, and you're going to the Pro Bowl.

That was the day for Packers safety Nick Collins. At the side of his wife, Andrea, as she was having an ultrasound on Tuesday afternoon, Collins found out their second child will be a boy. Then he returned a call from defensive backs coach Kurt Schottenheimer, who gave Collins more good news.

"I got a double-whammy at the same time. It was just a great moment," Collins said.

The Packers' other Pro Bowler is cornerback Charles Woodson. He got the news while watching the "Young and the Restless."

"It's not as exciting as Nick's story," Woodson said.

Receiver Greg Jennings is the first alternate at wide receiver, so he could wind up joining his defensive teammates in Honolulu for the Feb. 8 all-star game.

Collins and Woodson are tied with teammate Tramon Williams for the NFC lead with five interceptions. Collins' three touchdowns are tops among NFL defensive players, while Woodson has two touchdowns and leads NFL defensive backs with three sacks.

They were anchors of one of the NFL's elite pass defenses, a unit that faded in stunning fashion over the last month as opposing quarterbacks have taken advantage of the Packers' lack of a consistent pass rush.

"It was just a dream come true, a blessing," Collins said of his first trip to the Pro Bowl. "This is my fourth season here, and I've been waiting all this time just to get an opportunity to go to Hawaii, and it's finally here."

The veteran Woodson, who earned his fifth Pro Bowl invitation, took the talented Collins under his wing this season. Collins, a second-round pick in 2005, entered this season with four career interceptions, including none in 2007. But with Woodson refining Collins' study habit, Collins burst onto the scene. He recorded interceptions in three consecutive games early in the season, then added pick-sixes against Indianapolis and Minnesota at midseason.

"Charles Woodson, you can say so many great things about the guy," said Collins, the Packers' first Pro Bowl safety since Darren Sharper in 2002. "I feel since he's been here, he's deserved to go to Hawaii. This year was a great year. He helped me develop, study, get ready to prepare for a game. It's just great to go with a guy like that."

Woodson, who was beaten out of a Pro Bowl spot last year by teammate Al Harris, is proud of what Collins has accomplished.

"I'm very happy (for him)," said Woodson, who earned his fifth Pro Bowl trip and first since signing with Green Bay before the 2006 season. "You look at the year he's had, it's been incredible. He's well-deserved and he's worked hard for it. He's definitely one of the best players on our defense; on our team, as well. I'm happy for him. It's a good honor for him."

Woodson jump-started his season with two interceptions to blunt the Lions' rally in a Week 2 game in Detroit. After smothering Dallas' Terrell Owens in Week 3, he intercepted Tampa Bay's Brian Griese and scored his second touchdown in Week 4. All of that came after Woodson broke a toe in the opener against Minnesota, an injury that kept him off of the practice field until after the bye.

Woodson required shots to get through gamedays, and called himself "blessed" that the injury healed rather than worsened. He thanked trainer Bryan Engel for doing everything he could to keep Woodson in the lineup and coach Mike McCarthy's accommodating practice schedule.

"When you're shooting for something and you've got a goal, those things that you can block out, you block them out," Woodson said.

Woodson, who arrived in Green Bay with something of a bad reputation from his days in Oakland, said he's happy to have made the Packers' investment in him pay off.

"The organization, the fans, everyone since I've arrived here, has been very positive," Woodson said. "I just try to go out every game and leave it all on the field to let them know I'm dedicated to this game and dedicated to winning."

Jennings, who ranks sixth in the NFC with 1,153 receiving yards and is tied for the NFL lead with 19 catches of 20-plus yards, fell just short of earning a Pro Bowl invite. The four NFC receivers are Arizona's Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, Carolina's Steve Sith and Atlanta's Roddy White. All four rank ahead of Jennings in yards.

"No question," Woodson said when asked if Jennings was deserving. "It's obvious. You just look at his play on the field."

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com.


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