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News: Woodson Still Hungry After All These Years - Nick Eatman

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by speedkilz88, May 20, 2004.

  1. speedkilz88

    speedkilz88 Well-Known Member

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    Woodson Still Hungry After All These Years


    Nick Eatman
    DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
    May 20, 2004, 5:50 p.m. (CDT)


    IRVING, Texas - You only need to scan down the Cowboys' current roster to realize just how young this team really is.

    Nearly 70 players have no more than three years of NFL experience, causing those handful of not-so-young players to leap off the page.

    So it's hard to miss Darren Woodson, 12 years of NFL experience, 35 years of age.

    Those are just numbers, Woodson insists. He says he doesn't feel much different than he did some 10 years ago. Sure his body aches a little more after games and he sports a few more battle scars than he did back then. But as he prepares for his 13th pro season, the hunger is still there and the goal has never changed.

    "We're trying to get back to the Super Bowl," Woodson said earlier this week while participating in an after-school program event in Plano, Texas, with Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter and Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. "That hasn't changed to me. For me, my window of opportunity . . . it's closing."

    Woodson understands he will not play forever. In fact, he knows this season could be his last, although he said he's trying to play at least "two or three" more years.

    "I'm feeling really good right now," said Woodson, one of only two remaining Cowboys (Larry Allen) from the 1995 Super Bowl team. "I'm anxious to get back out there again. We've had a good conditioning program so far and I think we're all excited about getting started."

    Woodson is the oldest player on the team and there aren't many chances for him to forget that.

    From constant ribbing from his teammates, to occasional jabs from head coach Bill Parcells, Woodson is always reminded he is the elder statesman.

    "We call him grandpa," Carter said Tuesday at the school function. "But he's a guy that I respect as much as any of my teammates. He's been there. He knows how to win, and knows where we want to go."

    But that respect doesn't stop Carter and the others from having a little fun at Woody's expense.

    At the school event earlier this week, a fifth-grade student asked Carter to name some of his favorite players when he was growing up. The quarterback quickly said, "Darren Woodson," prompting a few giggles from the audience and a playful smile from Woodson.

    Then McNabb got into the act, insisting Woodson had played with Bears Hall-of-Famer Gale Sayers, a star running back in the 1960's.

    But Woodson has the ultimate comeback for all the verbal jabbing.

    "Darren Woodson also has three Super Bowl rings," he points out, silencing the good-natured ribbing about his age. Carter and McNabb still are looking for their first all-expenses-paid Super Bowl trip.

    "I'm the older guy but that's okay," Woodson said. "It lets me throw my weight around a little bit in there. I tell the guys to get me this or get me that. But we have some fun with it."

    And it's not just the players that kid Woodson about his age.

    The safety said Parcells has been known to call Woodson on the phone to deliver a short, but rather blunt message.

    "He'll call me up and say, 'What is your old butt doing?' Click," Woodson said. "Or he'll say, 'Get your old self in here.' Click. And he'll just hang up."

    But while Parcells has his own fun ways of motivating some of the veterans and keeping them interested, he also cuts them some slack for their number of years served.

    That is not to say, though, Parcells hands out free rides. He still makes the veterans prove themselves every summer, and that's just fine with Woodson. He wouldn't want it any other way.

    "Coach Parcells is one of the greater minds in football and I put a lot of trust in what he does," Woodson said. "He challenges me every day - not only me, but everyone with a star on their helmet to be a better player. I know the coaches try to motivate me, but Parcells really pushes a button."

    While Woodson gives much credit to the Cowboys' turnaround last season to Parcells, he also sees other teams in the NFC East capable of making similar moves. The Redskins hired 63-year-old Joe Gibbs, who led Washington to three Super Bowl titles during his 12-year reign (1981-1992), to return to the sidelines. The Giants went with Tom Coughlin, a former assistant of Parcells, as their new head coach.

    "When you look around the division, things have changed," Woodson said. "We've seen the Redskins the last few years with a ton of talent, but they couldn't do anything with it. But now you bring in Gibbs, they're going to be a much better team.

    "I think it's getting back to the old NFC East," Woodson said. "A lot of the guys on the team don't remember that - when Gibbs was here and Jimmy (Johnson) was here. And you have (Eagles coach) Andy Reid, you've got some of the best coaches right here in the NFL and I think you'll see the rivalries really start to pick up."

    That's how it was when Woodson came into the league back in 1992. The Redskins were defending Super Bowl champions and the Eagles were still one of the teams to beat. But the up-and-coming Cowboys ended up stealing the show that season, winning their first of three Super Bowls in a four-year span.

    Woodson admits he was spoiled early in his career, owning three rings by age 26. But at 35, that fourth ring still eludes him. And there seems to be this yearly reminder motivating him to come back for more.

    "The last seven years - watching Super Bowl Sunday - that's what gets me motivated," Woodson said. "That's why I still play this game. The money is not the issue. I've done well for myself on and off the field. But it's about winning that prize. Working hard and accomplishing something in the end." No matter how old you are. </FONT>
  2. Lord Sun

    Lord Sun New Member

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    [IMG]
    Woodson in a hurry to make a title run
    By Jennifer Floyd Engel, Star-Telegram

    PLANO - Mandatory weightlifting had Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter running late for Tuesday's "Take a Player to School" kickoff at Gulledge Elementary School, so his fill-in, safety Darren Woodson, volunteered to stay for the Q&A session.

    The little hands shot up. A random hand was picked. A tiny voice asked: What will you do after football?

    "My window of opportunity is like this right now," Woodson said, squeezing his thumb and index finger to within a centimeter of each other for effect. "It's closing."

    Which is why talk claiming that the Cowboys are building for 2005 angers the 35-year-old Woodson. He admits 2004 might be his final season. So Woodson found himself seeking assurances from Cowboys coach Bill Parcells that trading out of the first round of the draft and acquiring quarterback Drew Henson were not signs that 2005 is the Super Bowl-or-bust season.

    "I don't want to hear that," Woodson said. "The last thing I want to hear is we are building for 2005."

    Parcells told Woodson he does not write off seasons.

    Which is exactly what Woodson wanted to hear, because 2004 might be his last chance to add a fourth Super Bowl ring to his collection.

    "I'm a realist about it. There is talk. This could be my last year," Woodson said. "I'm looking at making the most of it. I'm going into this year like none other. I've always been hungry, but I have more passion this year ... about winning a Super Bowl championship because my window is so small."

    Woodson knows the Cowboys have holes to fill. Nobody has adequately answered the question of who will man the cornerback spot opposite Terence Newman, notwithstanding owner Jerry Jones' protests that Pete Hunter is capable. There are also questions about whether Carter has hit a ceiling at quarterback, who can take over at running back if rookie Julius Jones struggles and whether the lack of a pass-rushing presence on the defensive line has been addressed simply by the signing of Marcellus Wiley.

    Woodson admits he does not know the answers to these questions, but he trusts in Big Bill.

    "Coach Parcells is one of the greater minds in football, and I put a lot of trust in him to do the right thing," Woodson said. "He challenges me every day -- not only me, but everyone who has a star on their helmet -- to be a better player. I know the coaches whose job it was to motivate me, but Parcells really has pushed a button."

    Parcells is the king of button-pushing, and for Woodson, that button is his age.

    Just in case Woodson forgot that his last birthday cake had 35 candles, he gets a phone reminder every so often.

    "What is your old butt doing? Click."

    "Get your old self in here. Click."

    The voice on the other end is that of Parcells. He does not wait for a response. He simply hangs up. He gigs Woodson about his age and the effects of age on his game all of the time, including saying before the draft that the Cowboys might need to think about taking a safety because ...

    "Darren isn't getting any younger, so that is another position, if a really good player comes along, you would have to consider how many more years does Darren have," Parcells said.

    The jokes were flying Tuesday. When Carter showed up midway through the Q&A session, he was asked who his NFL favorite player was as a kid.

    "Darren Woodson," Carter said without missing a beat.

    "Didn't he play with Gale Sayers?" Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said, joining the verbal dog pile.

    The kids were laughing. The teachers were laughing. Woodson was laughing.

    "Darren Woodson also has three Super Bowl rings," Woodson said.

    Which is why he still shows up every day to lift and study film, and why he couldn't let this talk of building for 2005 go. He can't wait until next year, because there might not be one for him.

    The good news is that Parcells feels the same way.

    "I do not think that is the case at all," Woodson said of the 2005 theory. "We're looking to win this year."

    Jennifer Floyd Engel, (817) 390-7760 jenfloyd@star-telegram.com
  3. TheHustler

    TheHustler Active Member

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    good stuff. i hope he gets another ring.
  4. Paniolo22

    Paniolo22 Hawaiian Cowboy

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    Man, it just brings a tear to my eye.....LOVE THAT GUY!!! (not that way) ;)
  5. twa

    twa Active Member

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    Woodson to me is the model pro player,no bs off the field doesn't run his mouth but gives his all playing thru injuries and bad situations.Hopefully he can lend his expieriance for a couple more years.
  6. da_boyz_mk

    da_boyz_mk How 'Bout Dem Cowboys

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    excellent articles. maybe parcells should call and do the same thing to allen. :D

    [IMG]
  7. Reef Engineer

    Reef Engineer New Member

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    LA seems to react more to the pride card. Get a guy in here that can outlift him and have BP rib him about that and you'll light a fire under him.
  8. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison New Member

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    I'm praying for one more great season for Woodson, I want him and Williams to remain terrors coming from the D-backfield.
  9. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    Too bad the same thing couldn't be said about Larry Allen.

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