ALAMEDA –- Charles Woodson is playing some of his best football at 38 years old. Take a moment to marvel at that fact, something truly astonishing for a defensive back.
The Raiders free safety will likely give it a crack at 39. Woodson wouldn’t fully commitment to playing next season, but if he feels as good at season’s end as he does right now, the old man’s coming back.
“No question,” he said with a smile.
It would take something drastic for this to be his swan song.
“I always thought it would depend on how my body felt at the end of the season,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. We still have five games left. That’s five games in the NFL, where you’re out there hitting and doing things that you do.”
Given his level of play this year, Woodson should have suitors. After talking to him on Wednesday, it certainly seems like he’d prefer to stay in Oakland.
He says he has unfinished business with the Raiders.
“No question,” Woodson said. “It would mean a great deal to play here and get back into the playoffs and have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Coming into this season, I had all the confidence in the world that we would be a much better team than what we are. With that being said, I still believe in the process.
“I don’t know what happens after this year, but if I do decided to play again and it’s here, I’m going to have the same confidence. I believe they’ll continue to bring in the right people. The draft class they had this year was great. If you add to that and bring a few more people in via free agency, who knows what can happen.”
The reigning defensive player of the week and likely Hall-of-Famer credits his resurgence to assistant secondary coach Marcus Robertson, a first-year Raider who has helped him play safety properly.
He’s a near-permanent fixture in the Raiders defense, racking up 82 tackles, two interceptions, a sack, a fumble recovery and six passes defensed through 11 games.
There’s no reason to think it couldn’t play well at 39 or maybe 40. That’s a threshold that difficult to fathom, for anyone save Woodson.
“Nothing he does surprises me,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “Well, no, I mean, hard to say that, it really is. The guy I’m watching play out there, with the energy he has and the way that he flies around the field, and I know in his body, at the end of this, usually they take a little time and they evaluate where they are and all that good stuff, but I know that he’s a competitive guy, really competitive person, so it would not surprise me if he played into his 40s. (laughing) That’s hard to say.”
Woodson certainly isn’t looking that far ahead.
“I never thought about getting to 17 (years),” Woodson said. “I’m not thinking about playing into my 40s, but I don’t know. I feel great. Why that is I have no clue, but I do. I’m going to play this season out, and we’ll see what happens after that.”