by Tomas Lopez
Charles Woodson's career has come full circle, as the defensive back signed with the Oakland Raiders following a visit with the team Tuesday. It's a one-year deal worth a maximum of $4.3 million, according to multiple reports.
The fourth overall pick by the Raiders in 1998 out of the University of Michigan, Woodson was a four-time Pro Bowl player for Oakland before joining the Green Bay Packers in 2006 and going on to four more Pro Bowl selections and earning a Super Bowl ring over the past seven seasons.
Woodson was released by the Packers over the offseason and stated his desire to hook on with a serious playoff contender. However, there was tepid interest in the 36 year old on the free-agent market and visits with the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos didn't result in contract offers. Woodson is admittedly in the final chapter of his storied career, and has suffered two broken collarbones in the past three years.
The Raiders, meanwhile, had a need in their secondary and an initial offer on the table before bringing Woodson in for a visit Tuesday.
"When this process first started out, that was my thing. I wanted to be on a contender," Woodson told the NFL Network earlier this week. "I know I'm getting toward the end of my career. But at this point, I want to play football. If it's a rebuilding stage at this point, and that's the circumstances that I have to play under, then that's what I'm going to do."
Over the weekend at a benefit for the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, Woodson discussed the possibility of returning to Oakland with reporters.
"It would be a really big thing to go back to Oakland, being that I played there most of my career," Woodson said. "I played there eight years and Green Bay seven. So I spent most of my career in Oakland, and I still have a lot of friends there. I still know people in the organization. It would be a homecoming of sorts if it were to happen, so we'll see."
Woodson also has a relationship with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was a personnel executive in Green Bay when Woodson went there as a free agent in 2006.
Michael Huff, who would have returned to free safety as the starter in Oakland, was instead released by the Raiders when he declined to take a pay cut. The Raiders signed free agent Usama Young in the offseason, and he is currently running with the first team alongside strong safety Tyvon Branch.
"I don't fit into one particular scheme," Woodson said. "I can play the game of football and it really doesn't matter whether it's man defense, zone, 4-3, 3-4. I can play this game, so that really doesn't matter."
Woodson has played in 206 career games with 203 starts, and ranks second among active players with 55 interceptions - 11 of which he has returned for touchdowns, second-most in NFL history. He also has 17 sacks and 24 forced fumbles.
charles woodson - denver broncos - green bay packers - michael huff - oakland raiders - san francisco 49ers - tyvon branch