BETHESDA, Md. -- Washington Redskins fans were on pins and needles.
After weeks of anticipation, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III landed in a Redskins uniform on Thursday night. As the No. 2 overall pick celebrated his 2012 NFL Draft moment in New York, another Heisman Trophy winner was in the Washington D.C. area.
The Huffington Post caught up with Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson on Thursday night at Cork 57 and Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda. The eight-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion discussed his own memories from draft night, his invite to the White House Correspondents' Dinner and Griffin's NFL future.
Let's talk NFL Draft. Tonight's a special night for a lot of young guys. Flash back to that night for you. What do you remember most about finally hitting that day?
"It's a lot of emotions of course. You go to the draft, so you kind of have some speculation that you're going to be a high draft pick, because you're there. You're in New York. So of course there's been talk about you being a high draft pick. But still, you never know, because anything can happen. A team can move up. The team that you think is going to take you might trade out of that pick, so you might slip. You never know what's going to happen."
"That time was a very anxious time. I felt good about where I was going, but still, there's that uncertainty. What's going to happen? I just remember sitting in the back room, sitting with my family, watching Paul Tagliabue, who was the commissioner at the time, going through the first couple of picks. I think it was only 13 minutes between picks, but it seemed like 24 hours between each one. And again, just that uncertainty. Man, I was sitting -- hoping, hoping, hoping -- and finally I got the call that the Oakland Raiders were going to take me in the draft. For these guys and for myself -- that's a pretty special moment to know that all of your hard work has paid off and now you have that opportunity to showcase your talents at the next level."
You came in with a Heisman Trophy. We've got another guy who's got a big night ahead of him, with a Heisman Trophy. People are very on edge here -- with RGIII, what have you seen from him so far?
"I think the most important thing that I see about him -- and I haven't watched a lot of his games. I watched the [2011 Alamo] Bowl game and a couple of other games here and there. But I think the most important thing about that guy is that he's a young, smart, intelligent football player and person. Whatever happens in his football career, I don't know. But I know that what I see in him and what I've heard of him -- when I've heard him speak -- he's a young intelligent guy and that's half the battle."
You came into the NFL with that kind of hype. What advice would you give to someone who's going to face those same high expectations?
"The game is the game. Don't make the game more than it is. Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed by playing football. Most of us have been playing football all of our lives. The NFL doesn't change that. There are a few rules here that you have to know and get used to. But for the most part, the game is the game and go out there and play it like you know how to play it."
You have quite a few offseasons under your belt. What do you learn from your first training camp, to your fifth, to now going into your fifteenth?
"I think the biggest difference offseason-wise is probably just the way I work out and the approach during training camp. As a young kid, early twenties, I didn't have to do much in the offseason. It didn't matter. I was young, pretty much a gifted athlete. So I could take the offseason and really be off, and going into training camp, I'd be just fine. But now, the older you get in the game, you really have to make sure that going into camp, you're ready to go from day one. I start training and doing those things to get prepared for the season much earlier now than I did. And I think probably every player who plays a lengthy enough time in the NFL probably goes through the same thing."
Last segment for you. You're here in the D.C. area for a very special dinner this weekend. Tell us how that materialized, how you were fortunate enough to get that invite.
"It came through an email from the folks at Politico.com to invite me to the correspondents' dinner. I actually was invited last year but other obligations didn't allow me to make it. They asked me again this year if I would be a guest of theirs at the correspondents' dinner this weekend. The opportunity permitted itself."
Was this the second time from Politico? They asked you last year?
"Yes, so here I am. Yeah."
Obviously, President Obama is a Bears guy. Are you guys going to be able to get along for the night?
(Laughs) "It's fine. He's the president. We've got to get along. But who he likes is who he likes. It doesn't matter. It'll be an honor to be at the surroundings, to be at the event."