Woodson on fans: 'They treat me as if I never left'
Charles Woodson will wear No. 24 in Silver and Black, just as he did from 1998 to 2005. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
NAPA – Charles Woodson wanted No. 24 back. The veteran safety believes Raiders fans gave it to him.
Technically speaking, the team did all the heavy lifting. The Raiders took No. 24 from cornerback Tracy Porter gave it to Woodson, who returned to the team that drafted him after seven seasons in Green Bay.
Woodson wore No. 21 with the Packers but No. 24 in his first stint with Oakland. He was No. 2 in minicamp but got No. 24 back on Wednesday, which allowed Raiders to dust off their old Woodson jerseys for the upcoming season.
[REWIND: Raiders give Porter's No. 24 to Woodson]
It also offers a product tie in. Woodson owns TwentyFour Wines, a Napa-based vineyard. For several reasons, mostly sentimental, Woodson desperately wanted the number switch.
“It was a big deal,” Woodson said Friday morning, after the team’s first training camp practice. “I got the jersey back in large part because of the fans. Big thank you to the fans for that.”
Porter didn’t want to part with the number, despite the fact he’s been No. 22 during his NFL career. The Raiders eventually went against form and took it –- players typically barter to sell jersey numbers to stars that want them -– which created a social media stir on Wednesday afternoon.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen addressed it in a press conference and quickly put the issue to rest.
“Tracy and I have talked about it,” Allen said. “At the end of the day, we’re ready to move on to football. That’s the least of our challenges right now.”