Charles Woodson, Al Harris pushed each other to be the best

Former cornerbacks will enter Packers Hall of Fame together next April

Packers Hall of Fame inductees Al Harris and Charles Woodson
Packers Hall of Fame inductees Al Harris and Charles Woodson

GREEN BAY – For the better part of five years, Charles Woodson and Al Harris pushed each other every day on the practice field, in the weight room and in games.

So when it came time for the two shutdown cornerbacks to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame, it only seems fitting they do it together, as well.

On Thursday, Woodson and Harris were announced as the 163rd and 164th players in team history to receive the honor. They'll be formally inducted during a banquet in the Lambeau Field Atrium on April 18, 2020.

"I think that was the only way it could be done. If I was going in with anybody, it had to be Al," Woodson said. "I know the Hall of Fame was figuring out who was going in and once they called me and told me it was Al, I was like, 'That's the way it's supposed to be.' So it's great to be able to share this moment with him and his family. I spent a lot of time with him and his family over the years and that's going to be a great moment for both us."

Green Bay acquired Harris in 2003 from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a second-round pick.

The acquisition worked out for both sides, as it gave the Packers a much-needed play-maker in their secondary and afforded Harris the opportunity to finally be a full-fledged starter after playing behind Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor.

The 6-foot-1, 194-pound cornerback started all 16 games in his first five seasons with the Packers. Perhaps his most memorable moment came when he returned a Matt Hasselbeck interception 52 yards for the game-winning touchdown in Green Bay's overtime victory over Seattle on Jan. 4, 2004, in an NFC Wild Card game.

Still, some of his fondest memories were sharing a practice field with Woodson. After Woodson's signing in 2006, Harris went on to make back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances in 2007 and 2008 after being an alternate the three previous seasons.

"Once Charles got there, they realized if they didn't throw the ball over (by him), now I have my chance at the opportunities, which was awesome," Harris said. "That was big for me. To have someone on the other side to push you in practice, not so much as verbally but just by working hard, I thought was great."

Al Harris racked up 14 interceptions and 108 passes defensed with Green Bay. He earned back-to-back Pro Bowl selections in 2007-08 after receiving alternate recognition the previous three years.

Woodson already was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro cornerback when he signed with Green Bay in 2006, but he hadn't enjoyed a winning season since Oakland's run to a Super Bowl XXXVII appearance.

Partnered with a soft market for his services when he reached free agency, that made Woodson "really sour" upon arriving in Green Bay, which he admitted affected some of his early interactions with the Packers.

However, Woodson quickly forged relationships with his new coaches and teammates, and enjoyed a career resurgence. He made four consecutive All-Pro teams from 2008-11 en route to becoming one of the most beloved players in team history.

While Woodson was honored as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, his shining achievement was helping guide the Packers to Super Bowl XLV and earning his elusive ring.

"It was a long road to get back there," Woodson said. "Literally, I used to have this recurring dream that I would be going to a party and I'd get to the door and the bouncer at the door would ask me, 'Hey, show me the ring,' and I didn't have the ring, so I couldn't get in the party. It's funny because I never had that dream again once I won the Super Bowl, so that's what that moment was all about."

Charles Woodson was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-11) while with the Packers and led the league in interceptions in 2009 and 2011. He holds franchise records for the most touchdowns on interceptions (nine) and the most defensive touchdowns (10). In 2009 he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.

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