GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson dressed and departed the locker room quickly after Sunday's 28-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He declined to speak to reporters, a rare occurrence for a player who has emerged as the team's soul, its realist and in many cases its spokesman as well.
There was no official explanation, but here is one possibility: The Saints player whom Woodson punched in last season's matchup between the teams exacted some revenge with six minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the game.
Saints tight end David Thomas pancaked Woodson about eight yards downfield after a nine-yard run by running back Darren Sproles. Thomas had Woodson pinned to the ground for several seconds before linebacker Clay Matthews arrived to help him up. In an ensuing scrum, the normally unflappable Woodson wildly gestured toward Thomas. Safety Morgan Burnett eventually had to remove Woodson with such force that Woodson flipped onto the ground.
No penalties were called on the play.
As you might recall, Woodson punched Thomas in the Packers' 42-34 victory because, he told reporters at the time, Thomas was "holding me a little longer than I wanted." Woodson was penalized 15 yards and was fined $10,000 by the NFL but wasn't ejected. Woodson suggested that Thomas' role in instigating the punch helped convince officials not to eject him.
All of this happened. Is it the reason Woodson uncharacteristically declined comment after a big victory? That, I don't know. But this much was clear: One of the Packers' most collected players lost his cool Sunday and might not have had himself completely collected afterward.