One decade after winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan, Charles Woodson is pairing with Al Harris to give the Green Bay Packers one of the best starting tandems at cornerback. Once criticized as an overpriced offseason pickup, Woodson has turned out to be one of the best free agent signings in general manager Ted Thompson's three-year tenure. Woodson registered a career-high eight interceptions last season and has helped Green Bay get off to a fast start this season.
Woodson took time out last week to talk to Yahoo! Sports about his off-day routine.
Charles Robinson: So tell me about a typical off day for you.
Woodson: I wake up pretty early. My body is used to waking up early nowadays. Then I'll come over to the practice facility and hit the hot tub, the cold tub and the steam room. I'll do that for like an hour to work the soreness out of my body. Then I'll do some light weights and maybe some running. Then it's on to the training room to do the muscle stimulation to work out the kinks. After that, I'll grab a bite to eat somewhere around here, and actually, I just started taking piano lessons, too.
Robinson: Piano lessons, huh?
Woodson: Yeah, man. It's kind of tough, so when I get a free moment I try to sit down on a nice little electric piano that I just bought. It's pretty challenging.
Robinson: I've got to be honest, that sounds like this is a veteran's off day. Would you have been doing this six or seven years ago?
Woodson: Nah. No way. Six or seven years ago on Tuesdays, I wasn't trying to be anywhere near football.
Robinson: So what's changed in six or seven years? Is this an older, wiser Charles Woodson? I know a lot of guys like to go out on Monday night and spend Tuesday relaxing.
Woodson: Every now and then I'll go out, but there's really not much to do here in Green Bay (Wis.). I might shoot down to Milwaukee to chill out. Even there, it's mainly going there for the nice restaurants so you can have a nice little meal. But you know, as you get a little older, you're not as wound up as you once were, like when you got into the league. Things are definitely a little more calm now.
Robinson: So could you have spent the youth of your NFL career in Green Bay with no hot spots for nightlife?
Woodson: Oh man, if I would have came here straight out of school, I probably would have been spending a lot of my time in Milwaukee or going to Chicago or back to Detroit. I might have been all over the place, so it's better I got it all out when I was in Oakland (Calif.).
Robinson: So what's up with the piano lessons? That seems like a tough thing to pick up later in life.
Woodson: The thing is, I always wanted to do it, but I never had the initiative to get it done. But like I said, you're here in Green Bay and there's really not a lot going on, so I've got a lot of free time. So I said, let me go ahead and get this started. It is really tough. It's a challenge.
Robinson: So what kind of skills are we talking here? Chopin? Beethoven? How good are you?
Woodson: (Laughing) Oh man, nowhere near that. I'm just starting out.
Robinson: Are you still a single guy?
Woodson: Nah, I've got a girl.
Robinson: She's got to love that, you learning how to play the piano.
Woodson: Yeah, she would love it, but not if I was playing for anybody else.
Robinson: Do you sing when you play? Is this like the Fabulous Baker Boys?
Woodson: (Laughing) Nah, I can't sing at all. But I guess if you can play piano it doesn't even matter.
Robinson: I know some guys will take one of their days off every once in a while and run back to their alma mater. Do you ever do that – swing back to Michigan and see Lloyd Carr?
Woodson: Well, usually during the week I try to not get on a plane. So I haven't been back to Michigan on any off days.
Robinson: I hear you've been getting some stuff from (defensive end) Jason Hunter, who went to Appalachian State, after his team beat yours this year.
Woodson: Oh yeah. Shoot, it's everybody. I had a rough couple of weeks after Appy State and then Oregon came to town and beat up (Michigan) pretty bad.
(As Woodson talks, cornerback Al Harris can be heard yelling in the background.)
Woodson: Ha, now my man Al Harris is asking me how my college team is doing. I just try to hold my head high when I walk around here. I did a pretty good job when I was at Michigan, so I always have that to fall back on.
Robinson: Yeah, I think you did OK for yourself. So where is your Heisman nowadays?
Woodson: My mother keeps it.
Robinson: Do you ever have the urge to carry that thing around on vacation like hockey teams do when they win the Stanley Cup?
Woodson: Nah, that's not something I feel like I need to be taking anywhere. It's a pretty special trophy, but it's pretty heavy at the same time. It's good where it's at. I don't need to be riding around with that thing and then have something happen and the trophy is in the car with me. I don't need that.
Robinson: I don't know, I think if I had won the Heisman I would buy a backpack and just carry that thing around everywhere I went.
Woodson: (Laughing) Well, I'm a walking Heisman, you know?
- the University of Michigan