Charles Woodson will turn 38 this October. Football players his age are normally on the sidelines or in a broadcast booth or on the porch, reminiscing about the good ol’ days.
There are exceptions, of course. A quarterback might still be slinging it. But a safety?
Woodson will be playing – probably starting – at that age after signing a one-year contract to remain with the Raiders.
“That’s one of the reasons why I continue to want to play here with Oakland, because I feel like I have a lot of football left,” Woodson said Friday in a conference call. “…I’m glad it got done to where I can go ahead and play the game that I love, the game that I can still play at a high level.”
Woodson proved that last season, when he had 133 tackles, an interception, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks. And, somehow, he played 1,067 of the Raiders 1,074 defensive snaps.
Woodson has lost some speed and made some mistakes in coverage, but he remains an effective weapon in a secondary. As long as he remains so, Woodson will continue to play.
“At this point, you just take it one year at a time,” Woodson said. “I signed a one-year deal, so that’s all I have right now and I just want to make the most of it. At this age, being 37, everyone is looking for me to have a dramatic drop-off in what I do. At the end of the year they think he probably won’t play anymore. So, I’m just taking it one year at a time. I’ll do my best to help this team get over the hump and get back into the playoffs. Once that’s done, we’ll go from there.”
Woodson joins a defense now loaded with thirty-somethings. Defensive linemen Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Antonio Smith have crossed the 30 barrier. Cornerback Tarell Brown is approaching it at 29. Woodson is happy to join those recent signees on what he believes should be an improved defense.
“I think you bring in some veteran guys, some guys that are winners, guys that have been champions in this league – talking about [Justin] Tuck and [LaMarr] Woodley – is big,” Woodson said. “Bringing in [Antonio] Smith and other guys that can play at a high level. I think they are good moves. I think you are bringing in some experience and then I think you fill some other holes some youth and you have that combination of the two, and I think that we’ll be really good this year.”