Charles Woodson could’ve kept playing after 18 NFL seasons. The legendary Raiders defensive back was, after all, a Pro Bowler and a Second-Team All-Pro in his last go-round.
Woodson said he was mentally ready to retire, confident in his next chapter.
He wasn’t walking into an abyss. Woodson had a plan.
He planned to spend more time with his family, his TwentyFour Wines vineyard in Napa and, though he wouldn’t admit it until a deal was final, Woodson had another job in the works.
He hired a TV agent before retirement and, on Thursday morning, ESPN announced Woodson has joined the network as an NFL studio analyst. He will be part of “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “Monday Night Countdown,” the network’s signature preview shows. Woodson will make his NFL debut in July.
“I look forward to carrying on their strong tradition and gaining the respect of those who came before me and those who will follow me,” Woodson said in a statement. “I'm extremely honored and can't wait to get started.”
Woodson was expected to become a television analyst this offseason, so this announcement was not a surprise. Woodson is gregarious, smooth and confident, and should excel in his new venture.
Woodson is a future Hall-of-Famer, and is widely considered among the greatest defensive backs in NFL history. He played 11 seasons over two Raiders stints, including the last three seasons of his career.