|National Football League|
Woodson preps for new 'title' for Packers
MILWAUKEE (AP) There has been plenty of talk about whether Charles Woodson is going to move to safety for the Green Bay Packers.
The longtime cornerback says he doesn't care what his title is. The 14-year veteran said Wednesday that he already plays all over the field, and it's fine if he's called a safety this season.
"I don't think there's any more I can do on the football field than I already do," Woodson said after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park.
"I think the only thing that would ever change would just be the title, from the corner to a safety," he said. "But I'm a football player so I can do anything on that football field and they can put me anywhere. They know that. All this talk about, `Is he going to play safety?' I kind of already play safety so it wouldn't be that big of a jump."
The Packers drafted Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward in the second round, but it is not clear whether he will be ready to start this season.
A year after winning the Super Bowl, Green Bay went an NFL best 15-1 in the regular season but lost to the New York Giants, 37-20, in the playoffs.
"Let's start over and get that hunger back," Woodson said. "I think we relaxed last year. This year will be a chance to get back and be hungry about what we're trying to do again."
Woodson was in Green Bay on Tuesday to take a physical and pick up his playbook, this year distributed by the team on tablet computers. He said the Giants' ferocious pass rush made the difference in New York winning the Super Bowl and he noted that the Packers had more interceptions (31) than sacks (29) last year.
"Watching that (playoff) game, I'm sure that (general manager) Ted (Thompson) and the scouts and those guys said, `Look, we've got to start getting back after that quarterback,'" Woodson said. "If we do that, we'll be right where we want to be."
Woodson said he was pleased to see the team emphasize improving the defense in the rookie draft. In addition, the Packers on Wednesday signed defensive end Phillip Merling from Miami to provide depth on the line. Merling is a 6-foot-5, 315-pound fifth-year player out of Clemson.
"If we get our defense back on track we're going to be a really good team," he said. "We're going to be hard to beat. I'm really excited about that."
Meanwhile, Packers President Mark Murphy said veteran receiver and newly crowned dance champion Donald Driver will be back with the team next week.
The team is holding the first week of voluntary organized team activities this week. Driver spent the last two months in Southern California to compete on the reality TV show "Dancing with the Stars." He and dance partner Peta Murgatroyd won this season's title Tuesday night.
"To win it was great," Murphy said after he spoke at a sport and society conference at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis. "From a Packers perspective, I couldn't be more proud the way he represents the Packers. He's really just a pretty remarkable person."
Driver, 37, who has been with the Packers his entire pro career since 1999, is entering the final year of his contract. Murphy didn't provide a direct answer when asked where things stand between the Packers and their all-time leading receiver.
"I think people are excited to see him," Murphy said. "Obviously, I think all of his teammates will probably give him some good-natured ribbing. But, also, I know everybody's really pleased and happy for him."
Note: The Packers have released tight end Cameron Ford and quarterback Nick Hill. ... The team also promoted John Dorsey to director of football operations and Eliot Wolf - the son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf - to director of pro personnel. Brian Gutekunst has been promoted to director of college scouting and Alonzo Highsmith has been promoted to senior personnel executive. Sam Seale was promoted to West regional scout, Richmond Williams to area scout and Chad Brinker to pro scout. The team has hired John Wojciechowski as an area scout, Glenn Cook as a pro scout and Michael Owen as a college scout.
Updated May 23, 2012