Packers' Woodson is AP's top defensively
NEW YORK — In his own view, Charles Woodson put together his best pro season in 2009. How appropriate, then, that he is The Associated Press 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The versatile Woodson tied for the league lead with nine interceptions, returning three for touchdowns, and was a key to the Packers' turnaround on defense. His role in Green Bay's ranking second in overall defense, first in interceptions (30), takeaways (40) and turnover margin (plus-24) earned Woodson 28 votes yesterday from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL.
"It's a great honor," Woodson said in a telephone interview. "I felt like I put a lot into the game, mentally and physically — your body's always beat up — and it's great to be recognized."
He doubled the number of votes for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis in becoming the first Green Bay winner since Reggie White in 1998 and just the second Packer in the 36-year history of the award.
Woodson, the 1997 Heisman Trophy recipient, is the first cornerback chosen top defensive player since Deion Sanders in 1994.
BOLDIN OPTIMISTIC FOR SAINTS' GAME
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin says he feels much better and is optimistic about his chances of playing in Saturday's divisional playoff game at New Orleans.
Boldin said yesterday he "was able to move around a little bit" for the first time since he injured his left ankle and knee in the regular-season finale against Green Bay on Jan. 3.
The three-time Pro Bowler sat out Sunday's 51-45 wild card overtime victory over the Packers because of a high left ankle sprain and a sprained left knee.
He was hopeful he could practice today or tomorrow.
"It all depends on how it responds," he said.
WR EDWARDS GETS PROBATION, FINED
New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards has been placed on probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct in Cleveland in November.
Judge Michelle Earley gave Edwards a suspended 180-day jail sentence and fined him $1,000. His probation will be inactive, which means he will not have to report to a probation officer.
Bengals: Cincinnati re-signed Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator after two years of improvement under his guidance.
The team, which ranked 27th in the 2007 NFL yardage rankings, rose to fourth in Zimmer's second year as the Bengals won the AFC North Division. The defense gave up 301.4 yards a game and finished sixth in scoring defense at 18.4 points.
Cardinals: Arizona assistant coach Russ Grimm has been given permission by the Cardinals to talk to the Buffalo Bills about their head coaching job.
Grimm said yesterday, however, that no interview has been scheduled. He says the Bills are working through his agent Eric Metz and he doesn't know if any talks will materialize. "I don't know what the time schedule is on that," Grimm said. "I'm not really worried about it right now."
Giants: Former Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel has spoken to the New York Giants by telephone about their vacant defensive coordinator's job but is giving the Kansas City Chiefs the first shot at hiring him.
Crennel's agent, Joe Linta, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press yesterday that Crennel talked to the Giants on Monday. Linta said Crennel is focused on becoming the Chiefs' defensive coordinator.
Jaguars: Jacksonville will stick with coach Jack Del Rio, at least for another season.
Owner Wayne Weaver met with Del Rio yesterday, then said they would continue their rebuilding project with the Jaguars. The announcement came amid speculation that Del Rio was a candidate to succeed Pete Carroll at Southern California.
Redskins: Jim Haslett has agreed to become the Washington Redskins' defensive coordinator, the second major hire for new coach Mike Shanahan.
A person who spoke on condition of anonymity, says Haslett, who spent last season as head coach of the Florida Tuskers of the new United Football League, and the Redskins reached a deal last night.
Seahawks: Houston assistant coach and two-time Super Bowl winner Alex Gibbs has agreed to join Pete Carroll's Seahawks staff, a person familiar with the decision said yesterday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Seahawks had not finalized the contract. Gibbs, who joined the Texans in 2008, began coaching in the league with Denver from 1984-87.