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Monday, May 16, 2022

Al Woods: part NFL player, part farmer

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Before becoming a defensive tackle for the Colts, Al Woods spent most of his early years on a cattle farm in Louisiana. As Woods, a third-generation farmer, grew, so did his love for football. He realized he wanted to be a football player at 11 years old. 

 “I was about 5 when I started seeing [my love for football],” Woods said. “I started playing it when I was little. Getting older and older and older, I started to really like it.” 

While many would move on from farm work after finding success on the gridiron, Woods still works at the family farm in his small hometown of Elton, Louisiana, during the offseason. Even as a professional football player, Woods gets up at 5 a.m. to face mosquitos, a considerable amount of dirt and the hot sun. His days at the farm largely consist of feeding cattle, checking their wellness and making sure the cows can’t escape the farm but the animals have plenty of water and aren’t exposed to illnesses. It is hard work, but Woods legitimately enjoys farming. 

“It’s the first thing I learned how do when I was a kid,” Woods said. “It was my first love.”

Determined to help continue the family business, Woods plans to return to working on the farm full time after retiring from football. 

Woods’ farming work and professional football career might be two different jobs, but his experience as a farmer taught him many lessons that help him as a football player. One of the biggest lessons Woods says farming teaches is hard work. 

Woods says farming develops “the value of the commitment of making something grow and seeing it bloom into something you can feed the world with.”

He is not literally creating something people eat while playing football (unless you count the opponents who eat his tackles), but a lot of the philosophy is the same. Football requires constant work in order to get good results. Woods said being a football player is not just a Sunday commitment. The real work — that fans don’t see — happens Monday through Saturday.

So far Woods’ hard work has earned him nine years in the NFL where he has played for the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers and now the Indianapolis Colts. Last season, Woods’ first season with the Colts, he had a career high of 20 tackles. This season Woods has 10 tackles across 14 games. 

During the season, Woods is not near the farm to help him clear his head before a big game, but he has another not-so-secret weapon to keep himself in a good pre-game mental state: his children. Playing with his children is his favorite way to prep for a game as it puts him in the right mindset, especially at this time of year.

“Christmas is coming, so I’m just always looking forward to watching the kids open their gifts and seeing their happy faces,” Woods said. 


Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.

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