KANSAS CITY, Mo. -– Charles Woodson's grand farewell came last week, during his final game playing in the East Bay. It was an emotional moment for sure, one where the Raiders safety said goodbye to fans who adore him so.
He still had one game left on the schedule before retiring for good. That came Sunday in a 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, an event with less fan fare but a real sense of finality for the 39-year old Pro Bowler.
“I woke up this morning and was ready to get it on, ready to get the game going and hopefully come out with a win,” Woodson said. “I was ready to get it over with, to be honest with you. Everything was pretty calm for the most part.
“You hear everybody talk about the last game and everything being the last of what it is. The moment was upon me, and now it’s officially over.”
Woodson was asked about his legacy, what type of imprint he hopes to leave on the organization and the NFL as a whole. He will go down as one of the NFL’s best defensive backs, with stats aplenty over 18 seasons to support that claim.
“It’s very simple for me,” Woodson said. “I want people to say I left it all out on the field, nothing more and nothing less. I gave the game everything I had. Every Sunday I went out and played with 100 percent effort. That’s all you can ask for.”
Woodson wanted to bring the Raiders back to the postseason, and fell short of that goal in his second stint with the team. They are in a far better place than when Woodson arrived again in 2013, and his leadership by voice and example created a lasting impact on this team.
He showed younger players how to do it right.
“This is his 18th season and he practices all the time, he plays hurt and never complains about anything,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “I hope these young guys see that and learn from that. It’s a great accomplishment what he’s done in the league. He’s had an incredible career.”
Woodson let it all soak in once the clock ran out. He was disappointed with the loss, but made an effort to find fans with his jersey, hear them chanting his name and take in his final moments as a professional.
He has a promising TV career ahead, which should start next season, but said he’ll miss the Sundays most.
“There is nothing like going out there between the white lines every Sunday afternoon,” Woodson said. “I have had such a great time doing it.
“The (reality that I’ve retired) has set in. September will roll around and, your body will start getting ready. Mentally, I know it’s over. Finally I can just breathe. I’m good.”