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Charles Woodson likely not a full-time safety for Packers

  • By Associated Press
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At this point, a full-time move to safety doesn't appear to be in the works for Charles Woodson.

As the Green Bay Packers sort through their options to replace former Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, though, coaches are acknowledging the possibility that the versatile veteran will spend more time at the position than he has in previous seasons.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that Woodson's role in the defense is likely to change, although McCarthy didn't provide specifics and estimated that any change would be a small one.

"Charles' role on our football team may change somewhere between 6 and 8 percent compared to where he's played in the past," McCarthy said. "I don't want to really get too detailed schematically. Really, it's something we should watch and see -- and let our opponents see. We're not recreating the wheel with him, that's for sure. I would define him as a playmaker in our defense. And it's our responsibility to make sure he's lined up in those positions to make plays."

If Woodson isn't the full-time answer to replacing Collins at safety, it's still not clear who is.

Morgan Burnett and Charlie Peprah were spectators in Tuesday's practice -- Peprah is recovering from a knee injury and Burnett tweaked his quadriceps -- so Packers coaches spent the sessions taking a look at a few other options at safety. That group includes rookie Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings, who played in seven games for the Packers last season.

Woodson acknowledged that replacing Collins -- who was released amid concerns that he won't be able to safely return from his significant neck injury last season -- will be tough.

"Nick was one of that guys that's really irreplaceable in what he was able to do for this defense," Woodson said. "From a friend standpoint, it hurts even more because we were friends first. As far as a football aspect, he was a guy that could change the game. If you look across the league at safeties, he's easily in the top three in the entire NFL. To lose a playmaker, a guy with great speed, a guy that's physical and knew the game of football, it hurts a great deal not having him out there on the field and helping us on Sundays."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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