Jones is a player the Packers hope to replace with 2nd round pick Davante Adams and holdover Jarrett Boykin. Green Bay decided not to re-sign the wide receiver who spent seven seasons in the green and gold accumulating 310 catches and 37 touchdowns, including a career-high 14 in 2012.
"James had a little bit of the, he's going to work at night when no one's here type," said Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy. "He put a lot more into his profession then I think people realize."
Teammate and friend Jordy Nelson said Jones' work-ethic and accountability made everyone around him raise their level of play. Aaron Rodgers concurred, saying he was a player you could always count on being the same guy day in and day out.
"I loved his presence in the locker room," said Rodgers. I loved the way that he practiced. He's a guy who you knew would go up and get the ball."
Woodson is the franchise's best defensive free agent acquisition since Reggie White. Woodson was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and also spent seven seasons in Titletown. In that time he tallied 37 interceptions, nine defensive touchdowns and helped lead Green Bay to a victory in Super Bowl XLV.
"Probably the most talented, most dominant player that I've played with during his stretch from his time when he got until he left," said Rodgers. "He was so dominant in the secondary. I learned so much from him. He's a future Hall of Famer. I'm proud to be able to say I played with him, won a Super Bowl with him. He was a humungous part of that. I definitely miss his presence around here."
Former teammates say Woodson didn't speak often, but when he did he sent a message that left an impact with those around him.
"From day one he told me that we brought you in here to win championships," said B.J. Raji. "From day one that I met him, he was a very nice guy, but very demanding from a leadership standpoint and I always appreciated that. Just watching him, it always motivated myself to be a better player."
For a kid growing up in Michigan, there was no greater athlete and sports hero to Brad Jones than Charles Woodson.
"I wore his number when I was in middle school," said Jones. "The guy going from your idol to your friend is a cool thing. He's a walking legend ya know?"
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