Quotes from, about Darren Woodson

Updated: December 29, 2004, 6:41 PM ET
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Darren Woodson's retirement speech Wednesday was filled with thank-yous. Here are some selected quotes from him, and from others about the four-time All-Pro who leaves the Dallas Cowboys as the leading tackler in team history.

"I laid it on the line every time I put the helmet on." -- Woodson.

------=

"That's where I learned my commitment." -- Woodson on his mother, a single mother who raised four kids, often working two jobs.

------=

"They toughened me up, turned me into the player I am today." -- Woodson on his siblings.

------=

"He took me from a boy to a man, showed me what it meant to be committed to this game." -- Woodson on Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, his position coach at Arizona State.

------=

"He showed me how to win and be a confident football player." -- Woodson on former coach Jimmy Johnson.

------=

"For me to be playing across from Jerry Rice in the slot as a safety tells you he had faith in my abilities." -- Woodson on Dave Campo, his former position coach, defensive coordinator and head coach.

------=

"When you have people who really believe in you, who make you continue to grow as a person, you keep them near to your heart. He challenged me every day and I appreciate that." -- Woodson on Mike Zimmer, his former position coach now the defensive coordinator.

------=

"I call him Big Poppa. ... I wish I had played for him three or four years to totally pick his brain about football." -- Woodson on coach Bill Parcells.

------=

"I patterned myself after him. I was never a rah-rah kind of guy, so I followed his leadership by example." Woodson on former QB Troy Aikman.

------=

"Darren was a player who could hit, tackle and take charge in the secondary. He did all those things with authority. He made his presence known on the football field, but played within the scheme and played smart. ... You win with guys like that." -- Johnson.

------=

"He is a unique individual and somewhat of a rarity in today's world of professional sports: a great player, a solid citizen, a reliable person and a dependable leader. ... Darren Woodson is what a professional football player should be." -- Campo.

------=

"He was committed to being the best player he could be. The reason we were able to do the things we did is because of guys like Darren Woodson." -- Aikman.

------=

"Part of the reason I came to the Cowboys was to play with Woody. He was a big hitter and seemed like the leader of the defense. ... He showed up every day in the offseason to try to improve his game. He didn't take anything for granted." -- DT La'Roi Glover.

------=

"It's sad to see him retire, but at the same time, you have to be happy for him because he had such a great career." -- QB Vinny Testaverde.

------=

"Thirteen hundred and 50 tackles? That's crazy!" -- former DT Russell Maryland.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

MORE NFL HEADLINES