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Charles Woodson (born on October 7, 1976 in Fremont, Ohiomarker) is an American football cornerback for the Green Bay Packers. He played college football at the University of Michiganmarker for the Michigan Wolverines. In 1997, Woodson led the Wolverines to a national championship. He is the only player in the history of NCAA Division I-A football to win the Heisman Trophy as a primarily defensive player.

Charles "In Charge" Woodson was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the fourth pick in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. In his first season with Oakland, Woodson was selected as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. He was named to the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro recognition three times (1999-2001). Woodson later battled several nagging injuries in consecutive seasons in Oakland leading to his departure and becoming a free agent after the 2005 NFL season.

On April 26, 2006, Charles Woodson signed a seven-year, $52 million contract with the Green Bay Packers. In his first season in Green Bay Woodson was able to avoid injury and showcase his talent. Not only did Woodson have the opportunity to return punts with the Packers, but he also led the National Football Conference with eight interceptions, surpassing his previous career high of five interceptions set as a rookie. In his second season in Green Bay, the injury problems returned and Woodson was forced to sit out two games. In a little over three seasons with Green Bay, Woodson has recorded 24 interceptions, five of which he returned for touchdowns. In 8 seasons with Oakland, Woodson recorded only 17 interceptions.

Early years

Woodson was born in Fremont, Ohio. As a senior at Fremont Ross High School Woodson was named Ohio's "Mr. Football." He finished his high school career with the school's records for rushing yards (3,861) and scoring (466 points). In his senior season he was a USA Today All-America selection and recorded 2,028 yards and 230 points. In addition to playing football, Woodson also played basketball and ran track.

College career

Woodson played college football at the University of Michiganmarker. He became the starter after the second game of his freshman season and played in 34 straight games. In addition to playing cornerback, he returned punts and occasionally played as a wide receiver. Woodson was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1995. He was also named to the All-Big Ten First Team by conference coaches, and Second Team All-Big Ten by the media. He led the team with five interceptions and eight takeaways.

In 1996, Woodson set a Wolverine record for pass breakups with 15. For his efforts, he was named the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year and an AP First Team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and named to All-Big Ten First Team by conference coaches and the media.

In his junior season in 1997, Woodson became the third Michigan player to win the Heisman Trophy, joining Tom Harmon (1940) and Desmond Howard (1991). Woodson received 282 more voting points than runner-up Peyton Manning. He was the first and is still the only primarily defensive player to win the prestigious award. Woodson led the Michigan Wolverines to an undefeated season and a share of the national championship in the same year. He also won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive college player. He was named to the All-Big Ten First-Team for the third year and First-Team All-American for the second year. It was also his second year winning the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year award and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson won the Jim Thorpe Award, an award which he was nominated for the previous year.

Throughout college, Woodson was known for big plays in big moments of a game. As a freshman he had two interceptions in a victory against the #2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. During his Heisman-winning junior year, he made an acrobatic one-handed sideline interception against the Michigan State Spartans. Woodson had two interceptions in the game. In a game against Ohio State, he returned a punt for a touchdown, made an interception in the end-zone, and had a 37-yard reception that led to Michigan's only offensive touchdown of the game. The win lifted Michigan to the Rose Bowlmarker. Michigan played the Washington State Cougars in the Rose Bowl. Woodson recorded an interception in the game, helping Michigan defeat the Cougars and win a share of the 1997 national championship. In 2007, Woodson was ranked #11 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list.

Professional career

Oakland Raiders

Woodson declared his eligibility for the NFL Draft following his junior season at Michigan and was selected 4th overall in the 1st round of the 1998 Draft by the Oakland Raiders. After Woodson's first season in the NFL he was named The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. He started all sixteen games, becoming the first rookie Raider since 1971 to do so. Woodson had 64 tackles that season, leading the NFL for defensive backs. He was third in the league in interceptions with five and also recorded one interception return for a touchdown as well as one forced fumble. Woodson was named to his first Pro Bowl. In his second season in 1999, Woodson was selected to his second Pro Bowl and was named All-Pro by the Associated Press.

In the 2000 NFL season, Charles Woodson started all sixteen games of the season but suffered a turf toe injury which prevented him from practicing. He finished the year with a career high 79 tackles, intercepted four passes, forced three fumbles and recovered one fumble. He was named to the All-Pro team by Sports Illustrated, and second-team honors from the Associated Press. In his fourth year in the NFL, Woodson started sixteen games. This was the fourth consecutive year Woodson played in every game of the season. Woodson finished with two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal. Woodson also returned punts for the first time in the NFL, returning four punts for 47 yards. He was named to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl. He also made All-Pro teams of The Sporting News and College and Pro Football Newsweekly and the All-AFC squad of Football News.

In 2002, Woodson suffered his first major injury since his freshman college years, suffering from a shoulder injury which set him inactive in eight games. The shoulder injury came in the second game of the season in the first half. Despite the injury Woodson played the remainder of the game and was able to force a fumble. After his shoulder injury Woodson missed the last three games of the regular season, suffering from a cracked fibula bone in his right leg. Woodson started every Raider game in the 2003 NFL Playoffs, finishing with a start in Super Bowl XXXVII. In the Super Bowl, Woodson showed signs of his injury, but still recorded an interception in a losing effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After losing the Super Bowl in the year prior, the Raiders finished the 2003 NFL season with a record of 4-12. Woodson became unhappy with new head coach Bill Callahan, and criticized him during the season. Woodson remained healthy for the entire season, starting in his first fifteen games. His contract was set to expire after the season. Woodson reached an agreement with Oakland and was labeled as a franchise player. The franchise tag set Woodson's contract with a minimum of the average salary for the top five cornerbacks in the NFL. Although being labeled as a franchise player, Woodson's contract was only for one year. In the 2004 NFL season Woodson played the first 13 games of the season before suffering a leg injury which put him inactive in the last three weeks. After the season Woodson again agreed to a one year franchise tag deal. In the 2005 NFL season, he started the first six games but broke his leg in the sixth week, which sidelined him for the rest of the year.

Green Bay Packers

On April 26, 2006, Woodson and the Green Bay Packers reached a 7-year contract agreement that could be worth as much as $52.7 million with bonuses and incentives. He will make $10.5 million in the first year of the deal and $18 million over the first three years. He will also receive a $3 million bonus if he is selected to the Pro Bowl in two of the first three years of the contract. Free of any major injuries during the 2006 season, Charles Woodson (tied with Walt Harris of the San Francisco 49ers) led the National Football Conference with eight interceptions. Those are the most interceptions Woodson has recorded in a single season. Overall, he was tied for third in that statistic in the entire NFL. He was also used as his team's starting punt returner for the first time in his NFL career, returning 41 punts for 363 yards.

Woodson signing autographs in March 2008
On October 14, 2007 Woodson picked up a Santana Moss fumble and returned it 57 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in a 17-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. He also recorded an interception in the game, his first of the season. Woodson was named the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his performance versus the Redskins. It was the first time he has received this award. On November 4, 2007 Woodson had a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown with 59 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter to seal a win over the Kansas City Chiefs.[67719]

On September 15, 2008 Woodson recorded two interceptions in a 48-25 victory over the Detroit Lions. He returned the second interception 41 yards for a touchdown.

Woodson was named NFL Defensive Player Of The Month for September in both 2008 and 2009.

On December 16, 2008, Woodson was named to his fifth Pro Bowl, his first with the Packers. Woodson had solid seasons in 06 and 07 as he had 8 interceptions and 1 TD in 2006 and 4 interceptions and 2 TD's in 2007.

On November 15, 2009, Woodson recorded nine tackles (two for loss), a sack, two forced fumbles and an interception in a 17-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.

On November 26, 2009, Woodson had an impressive Thanksgiving game at Ford Fieldmarker against the Detroit Lions. He recorded 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and recovery (same play), 4 passes defended and 2 interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He covered star receiver Calvin Johnson and limited him to 2 catches for 10 yards. Although one of these was a touchdown, Green Bay won the game 34-12. He earned his nickname Charles "In Charge" Woodson with this commanding performance.

He has had more interceptions in his three plus years with the Packers (26) than he did in his previous eight with the Raiders (17). He also has more touchdowns with the Packers (6 vs 2) and Sacks (6 vs 5.5)


Woodson is an oenophile and developed his interest in wine while playing football in Oakland, near the Napa Valleymarker. He partnered with former Robert Mondavi winemaker Rick Ruiz to develop a signature wine label, "Twentyfour by Charles Woodson". The company is based in Napa, California, and is a small boutique winery, producing fewer than one thousand cases per year of its two varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Although the wine bears his name and signature, Woodson was warned by the NFL not to be seen endorsing the wine himself because of the league's alcohol policy.

Charitable Work

In November 2009, it was announced that Woodson has contributed $2 million to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hopsital for pediatric research.


  1. 1997 - 63rd Award Charles Woodson Michigan Cornerback from, obtained 1 January 2007.
  2. archive=true&conference=0015&statisticCategory=INTERCEPTIONS&season=2006&seasonType=REG&experience=null&tabSeq=0&qualified=true&Submit=Find 2006 NFL Stats from, obtained 30 November, 2007.
  4. Charles Woodson from CNNSI, obtained 1 January 2006.
  5. 1997 - 63rd Award Charles Woodson Michigan Cornerback from, obtained 1 January 2007.
  6. CB CHARLES WOODSON #21 from, obtained 1 January 2007.
  7. Key Buckeye-Wolverine games sprinkled through every decade by Larry Phillips of the Gannett News Service, obtained 4 January 2007.
  8. Woodson reminds us all how amazing he is by Alan Goldenbach of the Michigan Daily, posted 27 October 1997.
  9. 'M' back in Rose Bowl after 5 years by Alan Goldenbach of the Michigan Daily, posted 24 November 1997.
  10. NCAA Football Recap (Washington St-Michigan) from CNNSI, posted 1 January 1998.
  11. Charles Woodson #24 from, obtained 4 January 2007.
  12. Shoulder sidelines Charles Woodson by Nancy Gay of the San Francisco Chronicle, posted 19 September 2002.
  13. Raiders CB Woodson says he'll be ready from Associated Press, posted 30 December 2002.
  14. Raiders' key is Charles Woodson by Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle, posted 27 July 2003.
  15. Charles Woodson rips Callahan after loss by Nancy Gay of the San Francisco Chronicle, posted 3 November 2003.
  16. Raiders make Woodson franchise player from the Associated Press, posted 22 February 2004.
  17. Raiders' Woodson, Gibson likely out up to two months from the Associated Press, posted.Woodson was also the designated franchise player for the Oakland Raiders for two straight seasons. 24 October 2005.
  18. NFL, Packers reach agreement with Charles Woodson, April 27, 2006
  19. NFL, Woodson returns fumble for touchdown as Packers beat Redskins, 17-14, October 14, 2007
  20. NFL, Packers' Woodson Wins NFC's Defensive Player Of Week, October 17, 2007
  21. Ex-Wolverine Charles Woodson's return to Michigan one to remember

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