Oakland's Woodson Returns To A Grateful Nation
By Bess Shapiro
An Oakland Raiders favorite son, defensive back Charles Woodson, 36, has returned to the Bay to play for his beloved Silver and Black. A free agent this year, Woodson visited with the Raiders on Tuesday and has officially rejoined the team, according to the Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. The team didn’t provide any details on the contract, but it’s been reported that Woodson signed a one-year contract worth a maximum of $4.3 million Tuesday evening.
Woodson’s return will add a spark to the defense, shoring up the secondary and allowing coach Dennis Allen to run an aggressive hybrid defense, says Jorge Contreras of Rant Sports. “Linebackers and cornerbacks will be blitzing from both the 3-4 and 4-3 for the first time in recent memory for Raiders fans.”
In Green Bay, Woodson played cornerback but was moved to safety in 2012 before a broken collarbone ended his season. With the departure of Michael Huff, Woodson is a good fit at free safety. As a seasoned veteran and leader he can also lead the rookie defensive players as the Raiders rebuild.
Speculation and excitement had been building all week among the fans that Woodson would return to the team where he started his career, especially after he walked away empty handed from AFC West rival Denver. A Heisman Trophy winner, Woodson was drafted in 1998 out of the University of Michigan by the Raiders. He spent eight seasons with Raiders and was selected to the Pro-Bowl four times. He played his last seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
A fan favorite during his time in Oakland, Woodson played 106 games with the Raiders and had 17 interceptions. His time with Green Bay was also impressive with 38 interceptions including nine picks for touchdowns. He has a career total 17 sacks, 24 forced fumbles and 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns—the second-most in NFL history.
Raiders fans followed the action from beginning to end when Woodson touched down in Oakland to meet with team execs. Twitter buzzed all day with updates and rumors on whether a deal had been reached. Fans gathered at the Oakland facility on Tuesday just to welcome Woodson back. @RaiderNation tweeted: “I told y-all C-Wood would see those fans going crazy and he would be reminded of RaiderNations passion. Can’t say no after that.”