The Green Bay Packers will be without one of their defensive leaders for at least the next six weeks as Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports that defensive back Charles Woodson suffered a broken collarbone during Sunday's 30-20 win over the St. Louis Rams.
According to head coach Mike McCarthy, who confirmed the injury during his Monday press conference, Woodson's latest injury occurred when he dove for a Sam Bradford pass intended for Brandon Gibson that fell incomplete with less than three minutes to play in the game. Woodson broke the same collarbone in the Packers' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, but this injury is not deemed to be as severe and the team will not place the 15-year veteran on injured reserve. (The Packers would not have the option of using the new "Designated for Return" transaction, as their one use of that mechanism was spent on running back Cedric Benson.)
"Just talking with Charles this morning, he was a little nervous about it last night," McCarthy said via the team's official website. "He let it go through the evening and then this morning he came in and X-rayed it, and that's when we got the news."
Woodson, 36, has a 95.89 percent playing-time rate on the season, a number that is exceeded only by safety Morgan Burnett (100 percent), cornerback Tramon Williams (99.18 percent) and outside linebacker Clay Matthews (97.33 percent) on Green Bay's defense. Woodson plays safety in the Packers' base defense and is expected to be replaced by either M.D. Jennings or 2012 fourth-round pick Jerron McMillian. 2012 second-round pick Casey Hayward or Davon House is expected to replace Woodson as a nickel cornerback in sub packages. Neither of those players have the same game-changing ability as Woodson, which will put some pressure on defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
''There'll have to be some other guys pick up the leadership role,'' Capers said of Woodson's absence. ''Obviously, Charles is a leader. He's been a very productive guy on the field and that's the way you develop into a leader. I think there's an awful lot of respect for him. Now, we've got to have some other guys step up and produce.''
In addition to not being able to play, Woodson will miss out on income. According to a source with knowledge of Woodson's current deal, in addition to a $6.5 million base salary and the $4 million roster bonus he received on the 30th day of the 2012 league year, Woodson had up to $1 million in "per game active" roster bonuses in his contract. Each bonus is worth $62,500 and with a six-week absence would cover a five-game period, Woodson could lose at least $312,500 in compensation this season.
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