Harris, Woodson participating in voluntary workouts

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's an oddity that might top the latest alien landing, Sasquatch sighting or whatever else is in the supermarket tabloids this week: Veteran cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson both were present for the Green Bay Packers' voluntary offseason workout session Wednesday.

No, really.

"What happened is, I got on the plane and I was headed south, and somehow we took a wrong turn and I ended up here," Woodson joked. "So here I am."

Harris and Woodson typically have skipped past Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts, which technically are voluntary but are considered a sign of commitment by coaches. That hasn't really mattered to Harris and Woodson, two veterans who were secure in their standing with the team and preferred to work out on their own at home.

But this year, both players seem to have had a change of heart. Woodson has been in Green Bay for much of the offseason, and Harris showed up for Wednesday's session and plans to stay.

"I had planned on being here," Harris said. "It was just time to come to work."

Woodson said he hoped to provide a veteran presence for younger players, especially now that recently retired Packers icon Brett Favre isn't around.

"It's going to be a transition period for the Packers without Brett around, so we need as many of the vets back, obviously, as possible," Woodson said.

Favre, of course, skipped out on his fair share of voluntary workouts. But Woodson said it still was strange not having him around.

"The guy hasn't missed a game in 17 years, or whatever it was," Woodson said. "So not to have him around just for this organization, this community, is going to be a lot different."

And, of course, there are the constant reminders that Woodson and Harris aren't getting any younger.

"People always repeat what they hear on TV," Woodson said. "You hear a lot of the sportscasters and those people speak about my age, Al's age, how we've maybe got another year left or whatever it is.

"You hear it all the time, so people repeat it when we're in the streets or around barber shops or whatever. I know I can still play. Al knows he can still play. We're just around here getting a little extra work so we'll be ready for the season to start."

Whatever the reasons, Packers coach Mike McCarthy was encouraged by the veterans' decision to work out in Green Bay.

"You only have a certain window to get ready, and it's important for our players to be here," McCarthy said. "We're smart with our veteran players; we always have been since my time as the head coach and we'll continue to do so. You've just got to kind of find that happy medium."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

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