Charles Woodson is an amazing talent, one who seems to be as good now as he was 10 years ago.
So when the Raiders announced Monday they had re-signed the 38-year-old safety to a one-year deal, it was good for the team on multiple levels.
For one, Woodson is coming off a terrific season. In his 17th season in the NFL, Woodson was still an impact player. He led the Raiders in tackles (160) and had four interceptions. He was a highlight on a defense that didn’t have many.
For another, Woodson is a leader and positive role model on a team in need of them. The coaching staff has changed this offseason and the roster will no doubt go through another shakeup with more rookies and free agents coming on board. Though head coach Jack Del Rio has yet to announce the signing of a new defensive coordinator, Woodson provides continuity. Retaining Woodson – a certain Hall of Famer with deep roots in the Raiders organization – is an investment in quality.
“The fight is to bring the Raiders back, and I want to be a part of that,” Woodson sold the media Monday. “That’s why I keep signing on.”
In 2014, Woodson thrived, operating as wide-ranging defender who was as much at home near the line of scrimmage against the run as he was defending against the pass.
Last season, defensive coordinator Jason Tarver raved about Woodson as a defender for his smarts, toughness and ability to help those around him. Going forward, he should be able to continue to do all those things in 2015, even though he’ll turn 39 – truly ancient by NFL standards – in October.
He’s someone the younger players, such as linebackers Khalil Mack and Sio Moore and cornerback DJ Hayden – can respect and follow.
“He can see a call and practice it once or twice and get it right,” Tarver said of Woodson’s IQ last season. “Both by his athletic ability and his mind. He can focus. That’s one of the things that we’re working on with our young guys is, ‘Hey you may not be able to play with this guy forver.’ This is a Hall-of-Fame mindset. When you tell him something, he learns it and he locks in and he does it.”
Woodson, the only player with 20 or more sacks and 50 or more interceptions, said he wasn’t ready to walk away from football. He still has plenty to give.
“I love the game,” he said. “You never get rid of that. The Raiders have been good to me, giving me a second chance to come back around and wear the silver and black.”