Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson, a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Green Bay Packers, said this week he’s open to playing beyond the 2014 season.
Woodson, 37, returned to the Raiders for his 16th NFL season in 2013 after he was released by the Packers in February of last year. He had 97 tackles and an interception to go with three forced fumbles, but took awhile to decide to return.
“My heart was set on coming back here,” Woodson told CSNBayArea.com. “If that didn’t happen, I would’ve had to weigh those options.”
Woodson didn’t talk to any other teams during free agency this spring and said he might have retired had he not gotten an offer from Oakland.
But he says he’s not ready to conclude that his 17th season in the league will be his last.
“Going off of how I feel health-wise, I’m not looking at this being the last year,” Woodson said. “I’m going to enjoy every moment of this experience because you never know how it’s going to turn out. You look at what they’ve done here and you see the draft they’ve had—we’re going to be a good team. If that means playing this year and beyond, I’ll be open to it.”
Woodson, the only player who primarily played defense ever to win the Heisman Trophy, was originally drafted by the Raiders with the fourth overall pick in 1998 and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was named All-Pro in 1999 playing cornerback.
But after four injury-plagued seasons, the Raiders let Woodson go and he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Packers in March 2006.
The move re-invigorated his career, as he returned to his natural left corner position after playing on the right side his last two years in Oakland, and he was a two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler with Green Bay, leading the NFL in interceptions in 2009 and 2011.
He was also the Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2000s team.
Woodson is second in the NFL career list with 11 interception returns for touchdowns and is in the top five with 13 non-offensive scores.
If Ed Reed isn’t picked up for 2014, Woodson will be the NFL’s active leader with 56 interceptions.