Collins, Woodson To Start in Pro Bowl
Next game: Monday, December 22nd at Chicago
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Nick Collins got a double-dose of good news Tuesday.
The Green Bay Packers fourth-year safety was at the hospital with his wife, Andrea, getting an ultrasound when Collins learned he'd been selected to start at safety for the NFC in the Feb. 8 Pro Bowl.
The doctor then told Collins and his wife that they'll be having their second son on April 25.
"So I got a double-whammy," Collins said. "It was a great moment."
Collins, making his first Pro Bowl appearance, will be joined in the NFC starting lineup by cornerback Charles Woodson, who was selected for the fifth time in his 11-year NFL career, but for the first time since joining the Packers as a free agent in 2006.
Woodson and Collins were the Packers' only two selections, as wide receiver Greg Jennings was left off the NFC roster, finishing behind starters Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin of the Arizona Cardinals, and reserves Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers and Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons.
Jennings, who is fifth in the NFC in receiving yards (1,153) and seventh among NFC receivers in receptions with 69, was named a first alternate.
"He's had an excellent season, I think," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "Big-play receiver, a guy we count on heavily in the passing game. He's got a knack for making plays, and he's a big part of what we do on offense. He's had a very, very good year."
Collins, who is tied with Woodson and Packers cornerback Tramon Williams for the NFC lead in interceptions with five, has returned three of his five interceptions for touchdowns, is second on the team with 93 tackles and is third in pass breakups with 11.
"If you look at the year he's had, he's well-deserving," said Woodson, who has mentored Collins since arriving in Green Bay. "He worked hard for it."
Woodson, meanwhile, played through a painful broken pinkie toe on his right foot for the first half of the season, then volunteered to move to safety with Atari Bigby and Aaron Rouse ailing after the Packers' 51-29 loss at New Orleans Nov. 24. In addition to his five interceptions -- two of which he has returned for touchdowns -- Woodson has a career-high three sacks and leads the club with 17 pass breakups.
"At that time, when I made the switch, this was the furthest thing from my mind," said Woodson, who'll be making his first trip to the Pro Bowl since 2001. "We had just gotten beaten pretty badly down in New Orleans and my thinking was on making it to the playoffs and do whatever to get to the playoffs.
"It's not about the Pro Bowl at all, it's about trying to win and trying to get a championship. ... You put in a lot of hard work in this game, and you wish we were going to the playoffs."
This marks the first time the Packers have had two members of the secondary earn Pro Bowl honors since 1974, when cornerbacks Willie Buchanon and Ken Ellis were selected.
Woodson will be joined by Minnesota's Antoine Winfield, the other NFC starter at corner, and Philadelphia's Asante Samuel. Collins will start alongside Arizona strong safety Adrian Wilson, with Philadelphia's Brian Dawkins serving as the third safety.
Cornerback Al Harris, who earned his first Pro Bowl berth last year, and defensive end Aaron Kampman, whose two-year streak of Pro Bowl selections came to an end, were both named as alternates as well.
But despite their many individual standouts on defense, the Packers have sunk to 24th in the NFL in total yards allowed, including 13th against the pass, 26th against the run and 21st in points allowed.
"It's disappointing. We definitely have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball," Woodson said. "For whatever reason this year, we just dropped the ball as a defense.
"The last three or four weeks, we just couldn't get it done. I don't know what that reason is, but it didn't happen for us."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)