Might as well bring the two 1997 Heisman Trophy finalists back together to the same Dove Valley locker room.
The Broncos will visit Wednesday with former Green Bay Packers cornerback/safety Charles Woodson.
Hoping to play in his 16th NFL season, Woodson’s career went from decent to disappointing in his first eight seasons in Oakland to a future Hall of Famer in his seven seasons with the Packers.
A ballhawking cornerback and punt returner initially with Green Bay, Woodson became a unique nickelback weapon in 2010-11 then was converted to strong safety last season.
Woodson, 36, was released to free agency in March, but aside from a visit with the San Francisco 49ers, had drawn little interest. If the Broncos sign Woodson, the expectation is he would compete with Mike Adams and Quinton Carter at strong safety, or could be used as an extra defensive back in nickel and dime coverages.
Woodson is second among active players with 55 career interceptions. The Broncos’ Champ Bailey is third with 52. The active leader is Houston safety Ed Reed with 61.
Entering the 1997 college football season, Peyton Manning, a senior Tennessee quarterback, was the clear front-runner for the Heisman, while Woodson was a junior corner at Michigan.
But the trophy almost never goes to the preseason favorite because of the difficulty of living up to the hype. When Manning’s Tennessee Vols lost to Florida, Woodson became the only predominant defensive player to win the Heisman, clinching the award thanks to a spectacular final game against Ohio State in which he returned a punt for a touchdown, intercepted a pass in the end zone, and had a 37-yard reception as a receiver.
Woodson was named the Heisman winner with 1,815 points. Manning was second with 1,543. In the subsequent 1998 NFL draft, Manning was selected No. 1 by Indianapolis and Woodson went No. 4 to Oakland.
How far back does 1998 go? The Broncos were on their way to defending their Super Bowl championship with John Elway at quarterback. Elway retired at 38 after that season and is now the Broncos’ football operations boss who signed Manning to his team last year and might do the same with Woodson.
Although the Broncos are willing to take a chance on Woodson despite his advanced years, the team has no interest in signing middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.