Mike Vandermause column: Green Bay Packers focus on Super Bowl rings, not NFL lockout

Jun. 17, 2011

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Driver, Woodson celebrate getting Super Bowl rings: Packers veterans Donald Driver and Charles Woodson celebrate their Super Bowl rings after the ring night ceremony.
Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson shows off his ring to the media after the Packers ring ceremony at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Thursday, June 16, 2011. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette


Nothing could spoil this night for the Green Bay Packers.

The organization handed out championship rings during a private ceremony in the Lambeau Field Atrium Thursday, and it was a festive, giddy celebration commemorating the Packers’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers four months ago in Super Bowl XLV.

The smile on cornerback Charles Woodson’s face said it all as he lifted his hand to display his newest piece of jewelry, which featured 109 diamonds totaling 3.35 carats.

“I’m proud to be part of this team,” said Woodson. “I’m proud to be a Green Bay Packer. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish this season.”

For one evening, the squabbling between NFL management and players was set aside. The ongoing NFL lockout was forgotten as players and team personnel basked in the afterglow of their championship season.

“It’s an incredible feeling just to have the opportunity to have the players back in the building to share this moment,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

This night could very well be the last time some members of the 2010 team officially call themselves Packers, but even that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.

“No sadness,” said Woodson. “This won’t be the same team this coming season, but everybody that’s here tonight was part of this team, this run, this championship season. We’re all going to celebrate tonight as a team, whatever happens after this happens. But no sadness.”

In offering suggestions for the ring’s design, receiver Donald Driver said the players wanted it big and with “as much bling as possible.”

They weren’t disappointed. “It’s amazing how big this ring is,” said Driver, whose smile sparkled as brightly as the diamonds on his finger.

It took 13 years for Woodson to win a championship, and he left no doubt about how much he was cherishing this event.

“It’s a beautiful ring,” Woodson said. “I don’t think they could have done anything else to the ring to make it any more beautiful, to make it any more spectacular. It’s the best ring I’ve seen and I’m not just saying that just because this is our night. It’s the most incredible ring I’ve ever seen.”

As the lockout drags on, there has been speculation about when Packers players would hold workouts on their own like other NFL teams.

But that discussion would have to wait for another day. On Thursday, it was all about looking back and reflecting on a memorable season. Worrying about preparations for next season was not on the agenda.

“We haven’t talked about that at all,” Driver said of team members planning practices. “The only thing we talked about is how big our rings were and we’re celebrating this moment. It’s going to get to the point where that will come into play, but right now we’re just enjoying this moment. You can’t take this from us right now. We’re going to enjoy and embrace this.”

— mvandermause@greenbaypressgazette and follow him on Twitter #MikeVandermause.

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