ALAMEDA – Professional athletes are typically fired up to play a former employer. Raiders safety Charles Woodson is no exception. His motivation will be high for Sunday’s game against Green Bay, where he played seven seasons and won a Super Bowl.
“There’s always an extra element when you’re playing an old team,” Woodson said Wednesday. “That’s especially true when you left prematurely, before you thought you were going to leave. Yeah, there’s a little bit extra there.”
The Packers cut Woodson with two years left on his contract. He was injured most of the 2012 season, and was perceived to be on the decline finishing up his 15th season.
That clearly wasn’t true. Woodson has put three solid seasons forth in his second stint with the Raiders. That certainly wasn’t expected given his offseason after getting cut by the Packers. The Raiders and Denver were the only teams interested, but the Broncos didn’t offer any guaranteed money.
“It wasn’t just the Packers who didn’t think I could play anymore,” Woodson said. “It was a lot of people. As I mentioned to reporters (in Green Bay), I didn’t have a lot of people knocking my door down. It’s good to prove it to everybody that I can still play.”
Woodson is proving that he still has it at age 39. He is in line to make the Pro Bowl. He leads the fan vote at strong safety, with 62 tackles, five interceptions, nine passes defensed, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
He’s done all that with a bum shoulder that has relegated him to playing as a deep safety. Winning games obviously reigns supreme, but making a Pro Bowl in what could be his last season would certainly be special.
“It would mean something,” Woodson said. “I’m a player people consider to be done a few years ago. To be in year 18, and to have that possibly is pretty big. Do you play for those things? Not necessarily. But, when you go out and work hard, you kind of are. What it feel good to have that happen? Absolutely.”