AP chooses Woodson as top defensive player
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NEW YORK -- In his own view, Charles Woodson put together his best pro season in 2009. How appropriate, then, that he is The Associated Press 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The versatile Woodson tied for the league lead with nine interceptions, returning three for touchdowns, and was a key to the Packers' turnaround on defense. His role in Green Bay ranking second in overall defense, first in interceptions (30), takeaways (40) and turnover margin (plus-24) earned Woodson 28 votes yesterday from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL.
"It's a great honor," Woodson said. "I felt like I put a lot into the game, mentally and physically -- your body's always beat up -- and it's great to be recognized."
He doubled the number of votes for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis of Pitt in becoming the first Green Bay winner since Reggie White in 1998 and just the second Packers player in the 36-year history of the award.
Woodson, the 1997 Heisman Trophy recipient from Michigan, is the first cornerback chosen top defensive player since Deion Sanders in '94.
After a disappointing performance by the Packers defense in a 51-45 overtime playoff loss Sunday at Arizona, Woodson is more motivated than ever to pursue the one honor that has eluded him in his career: a Super Bowl victory.
"That's it," Woodson said. "Especially now, to get this award, I've done everything an individual can do."
He got the honor in great part because of the way he anchored a defense in transition. Woodson was used in a variety of ways by new defensive coordinator Dom Capers as Green Bay made the switch to a 3-4. At times, the unit was shaky -- except for Woodson, who played the role of cover cornerback, blitzer, run-stuffer and ball hawk.
"Anytime you go out there on the field, you go out there to win the game, of course," Woodson said, "but you go out there to be consistent and a reliable player ... and you're mentioned as far as being defensive player of the year, you know you're doing some things right."
First Published January 13, 2010 12:00 am