Charles Woodson said he plans on playing in 2013.
Hopefully, he added, for the Green Bay Packers.
Before next season, however, Woodson is eager to finally get back on the field this season. Woodson broke his collarbone two months ago today. He’ll miss Sunday’s game against Tennessee, his eighth in a row.
“It’s been way too long, watching too much football from the sidelines. Even though they’re great seats, I’d rather be playing,” Woodson said on Friday.
Woodson has one more opportunity to play before the playoffs — next Sunday at Minnesota. Over the last few weeks, Woodson said he’s done just about everything at practice. He hasn’t been cleared for contact, however, and having to tackle Adrian Peterson as he seeks the NFL’s single-season rushing record would be a challenging first test to the collarbone’s health and his nerve.
“I think when you get into the game, I think all of those thoughts kind of flee your mind and you get ready to play the game,” Woodson said. “I’ll think about it for sure before I get out there on the field, but once I get out there on the field, then it’s time to play football.”
Woodson would like to play in a game before the playoffs, but with a career resume including 221 career regular-season and postseason games, the 36-year-old defensive back does have some experience to rely on.
“Whenever the time comes, I know how to play football,” he said. “That’s one thing you don’t (forget). Just because you have time off, doesn’t mean you forget how to play the game. I know how to play the game. I know the defense, and so when that time comes, I’ll be ready.”
The Packers are 6-1 without Woodson in the lineup. Before the season, Woodson was moved to safety in the base defense. In his place, M.D. Jennings, who didn’t play a snap on defense as a rookie, has had a solid season. In the nickel and dime packages, Woodson was supposed to move back inside as a slot corner. At the nickel, Casey Hayward has six interceptions. Rookie Jerron McMillian has played the dime. The Packers are ninth in scoring defense and are allowing almost 60 fewer passing yards per game than last season.
All of which leads to the question of whether the Packers even need Woodson, given his age and cap charges of $10 million in 2013 and 2014.
“Until somebody tells me I’m not,” Woodson said, “this is where I plan on playing.”
Packers injury report
Out: TE Tom Crabtree (hamstring); WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring); RB James Starks (knee); DE C.J. Wilson (knee); DB Charles Woodson (collarbone). Questionable: RB Alex Green (concussion); G Greg Van Roten (back/illness); DE Jerel Worthy (hamstring). Probable: WR Randall Cobb (shoulder); G T.J. Lang (concussion/illness); QB Aaron Rodgers (ankle); C Jeff Saturday (neck/shoulder); LB Erik Walden (ankle). Not available: FB John Kuhn (not injury related).
“T.J. Lang has passed the concussion test,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Alex Green has one more hurdle to go through tomorrow. It’s really been kind of a scheduling issue with everything that’s going on. We feel pretty confident based on our medical staff that he should be available for the game.”
Kuhn was absent on Thursday because of a personal situation and had travel issues on Friday because of the storm.
Titans injury report
Out: C Kevin Matthews (ankle). Questionable: LB Colin McCarthy (concussion); CB Ryan Mouton (hamstring); DE Scott Solomon (knee); WR Damian Williams (hamstring); WR Kendall Wright (rib). Probable: WR Kenny Britt (knee); QB Jake Locker (left shoulder); LB Will Witherspoon (hamstring).
Wright, the Titans’ leading receiver, did not practice all week and isn’t expected to play.
— The Packers are up to ninth in scoring defense. “I think so,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said about his unit playing its best ball of the season. “I think we’ve gradually improved. I think we played our most complete game Sunday.”
— Evan Dietrich-Smith will replace Jeff Saturday at center and might hold that spot for the rest of the season. “Me and Jeff had a great relationship since he’s been here,” Dietrich-Smith said. “I mean, me and him have been on the same page since Day 1. The big thing for us, we just want success for the team. He has my support and I have his support, but for me, it’s more of a respect thing. To have Jeff’s respect and have the respect of the guys is the biggest thing for me.”
— Because of Walden’s injury and the strong play of rookie Dezman Moses, those two will rotate at left outside linebacker. Moses also will give Clay Matthews as a break as he plays in his second game since missing more than a month with a hamstring injury.
— Woodson isn’t worried about getting a bye week. “I feel like for the team, the way the team has been playing, I don’t know if I’d really prefer a bye week. We got good momentum right now and we’ve still got two games left, if we can keep that going, I’d just like to keep that rolling.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.