LATROBE, Pa. -- Rod Woodson finally is getting a taste of training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Woodson, a cornerback with 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash, was the Steelers' first-round draft choice in 1987, but he missed all of training camp and a good bit of the regular season because of a 94-day holdout.
After signing a contract worth $2 million, Woodson got a crash course in the Steelers defensive scheme. He became the fifth defensive back in passing situations and also returned kicks.
This year, Woodson reported to camp at St. Vincent College with the first wave of Steelers, and he is re-learning his position.
'He had just a fair year last year,' said Steelers' defensive coordinator Tony Dungy. 'I would expect him to play much better this year. Now he's learning it the way you should learn it, and it should help him tremendously.
'He knew the defenses, but training camp gives you the reaction. You have to see things over and over so you don't think about it. If you have to think, it's too late. In the thinking process, you take away being a football player.'
Woodson admits he had a poor season.
'I was kind of blindfolded trying to run with the ball,' said Woodson. 'At the end of the year, I was just getting into it. My footing was getting back to me. When you're out for so long, you lose it. You lose a step, everything.'
Woodson played in the Hula Bowl after his senior season at Purdue, and then didn't play football again until Nov. 8, was 11 days after he signed his contract.
This year, Woodson has been working at left cornerback. Eight-year veteran Dwayne Woodruff is the incumbent at that position, and he led the Steelers last season with five interceptions.
But the Steelers think so much of Woodson that they attempted to trade Woodruff to the Dallas Cowboys for Tony Dorsett during the off-season.
A high-hurdler in college, Woodson returned to track during his holdout last summer, and at one point said he wanted to try out for the 1988 Summer Olympics. He posted one of the world's fastest times in the hurdles (13.39 seconds) last year.
'I'm disappointed about giving up track, but I'm happy because I'm playing football and the season's going to start soon. Everything is behind me. All my problems, track, everything,' said Woodson. 'I'm ready to play football this year.'
One of the problems was an off-season incident in West Lafayette, Ind. Woodson was arrested along with two other men and charged with stealing a jar containing $70 in tips from a restaurant-bar.
Prosecutors decided not to file charges against any of the three.
'If people want to talk about it, they can go ahead,' said Woodson. 'But for me, it's over. It's in the past.'