Charles Woodson Eyes Oakland Raiders Turnaround in 2015


When the announcement was made on Monday that safety Charles Woodson would be back for his 18th NFL season (11th with Oakland), nobody around the league was surprised based on the play of the 38 year old combined with his comments during the season that he would like to keep playing for the Raiders in 2015. Playing at a high level, one of the greatest defensive backs of all time appeared to want to add to his legacy when he told the media he wanted to return in 2015, perhaps not wanting to end his career as a member of the 3-13 2014 Raiders.

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Woodson finished 2014 with four interceptions, his highest total since 2011 where he had seven with the Packers, and added 81 tackles to his career numbers that put him in the category of first ballot Hall of Fame status. Nearing 40 the Raiders legend wasn’t satisfied with just hanging up the cleats after a strong season, appearing to want to finish his career once Oakland’s fans get to enjoy the feeling of winning that he enjoyed during his first stint with the team before winning a Super Bowl in Green Bay.

“Of course the goal is to always get into the playoffs and get the opportunity to play for a championship, and so we’re still searching for that, and I want to be a part of the team,” Woodson told the Raiders official website yesterday while hoping that 2015 will be the year that Oakland can end their playoff drought. “Hopefully it can happen this year where we get back into the playoffs and have a shot at it, so I’m still searching for that.”

Based on Woodson’s 2014 numbers he was one of the top players on the Raiders defense and certainly their best performing talent in the secondary. ESPN’s Adam Caplan reporting that the Raiders staff felt that Woodson was one of their top performers this past season, making his return for next year a massive win for a team trying to finish a rebuild under a new head coach.

The high praise from the Raiders former coaching staff is understandable considering that many defensive backs were either injured or underperformed when healthy this past season while Woodson kept himself in the lineup and had his best year since switching to safety at the advanced age of 38. Linebackers Khalil Mack and Sio Moore were standouts with the youth movement in Oakland, but the 38 year old showed that even while nearing benchmarks in age for an NFL player that Woodson can produce as an above replacement level NFL talent for perhaps years to come with the 81 tackle season.

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Of course, Woodson doesn’t want people to focus on his age as he will turn 39 during his 18th NFL season, mentioning that his playing well is what he wants people around the league and in Oakland to pay attention to rather than the fact that a player nearing 40 is still one of the better safeties in the NFL.

“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,” said Woodson. “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.”

Expect Woodson to continue to shine in the upcoming season for the Raiders, motivated to bring back the team that drafted him to contention after years of struggles while the legend was off in Green Bay. Accomplishing everything there is to accomplish in the game, it appears the motivation for Woodson to keep playing lies in trying to make the Raiders franchise a contender once again which could explain the fact that at age 37 and age 38 that Woodson posted tackle totals of 75 in 2013 before his 81 tackle 2014 season.

If that continues in 2015 the Raiders won’t regret continuing to fill one of their starting safety positions with a player who is at an age where many are looking to head into the broadcast booth or the retirement circuit. Motivated to make the Raiders a contender and one of the best players on the Oakland roster in 2014, Woodson is going to add to his Hall of Fame credentials again this upcoming season as all the former Michigan Wolverine knows is playing at a high level. Even nearing 40, people expect big plays out of Woodson and the legend always seems to deliver, which makes Monday’s news some of the biggest of the early offseason in Oakland as their top defensive back will be returning to the team rather than hanging up his pads.