Charles Woodson signed a one-year contract with the Raiders on Monday afternoon that sets him up for his 18th NFL season.
That number is incredibly high for any NFL player, especially for a defensive back where speed and physicality are mandatory.
“I get the opportunity to keep doing what I love and to keep having fun,” Woodson told the team’s official website. “I have great respect for the game, and I’m able to go out there and continue to play at a high level the way I’ve done my whole life, so I feel like why not keep playing?”
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Woodson had a surprisingly strong season at age 38 and was easily one of the Raiders’ best players last year. He credits defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson for teaching him how play safety the right way. He was solid throughout the year, with 113 tackles, four interceptions and a sack.
He hinted at a return to the Raiders on several occasions, but made his desire known in recent days and quickly hammered out a deal that was formally announced on Monday. He’ll play next season at 39 years old, but hopes fans focus more on quality play than his advanced age.
“I hear all the time from everybody about how old I am, but I just want you to talk about how well I’m playing, if I’m playing well, and I think I’ve played that way,” Woodson said. “You gain the respect of the guys around you, whether it be older guys or guys that are just coming into the league. I continue to play with that high standard, with high energy, as much as I can, and show those guys how it’s done.”
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Woodson’s career is much longer than most, a point not lost on the veteran and future Hall-of-Famer. He’s set on enjoying each game he’s allowed to play.
“There’s only a few of us that are chosen to play this game, and I’ve been able to do it for 17 seasons, going on the 18th,” Woodson said. “I’m well above the average of the NFL player, so every time I put that uniform on and I walk out there onto the field, whether it’s home or away, standing there on the sideline listening to the National Anthem, I’m pinching myself because I’m truly blessed to be a part of what I feel, and a lot of people feel, is the greatest game in the world.”