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Hall of Famer Woodson joins Raiders' staff as CBs coach

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Oakland Raiders added a Hall of Famer to their coaching staff Monday, hiring Rod Woodson to tutor their cornerbacks.

Woodson, one of the most accomplished defensive backs to play in the NFL, was selected to the league's 75th Anniversary Team. He played the final two of his 17 seasons with the Raiders, helping them win the 2002 AFC Championship Game.

"It's an honor to be back with the Raiders and be able to talk to Raider players about true football," Woodson said in a statement released by the team. "I'm looking forward to working with the organization and the challenges of the 2011 season."

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Among Woodson's first responsibilities: Help convince three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, whose contract was voided when he failed to reach certain performance incentives this season, to return to the Raiders. Asomugha became an unrestricted free agent in early January.

"Hopefully, Nnamdi will come back," Woodson told NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" on Monday. "I think we're going to do some different things this year on a defensive side, some more looks, some more things for the corners to make plays, get them to face the football, hopefully, a little bit more so they can get interceptions, so they can be playmakers for this defense. If we can do that, and if we can get a Nnamdi Asomugha back in Oakland, one of the best corners in the National Football League, it makes my job a lot easier."

Woodson had recently served as an analyst for NFL Network and Big Ten Network, but he decided to go into coaching.

"I've been thinking about coaching for quite a long time," he told "NFL Total Access." "I was offered a job when I first retired seven years ago, but after spending 17 years in the league, I wasn't ready to do it then. The last couple years, I've been thinking about it, talking to all my guys and friends who are coaching in the league, and I talked to (Raiders owner Al) Davis, and I talked to Hue (Jackson, the team's new head coach), and I was offered the job.

"I just didn't want to pass it up. I didn't want to live my life in regret, not having the opportunity -- or at least taking the opportunity to try this thing out. ... So I'm going to give it a shot and see how it works out."

Woodson spent the bulk of his playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, starring with them for 10 seasons. He was named The Associated Press' NFL Defensive Player of the Year for Pittsburgh in 1993 and helped the Steelers reach the Super Bowl following the 1995 season.

Woodson also spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers and four with the Baltimore Ravens, winning the Super Bowl with the latter following the 2000 season.

Woodson was voted to 11 Pro Bowls and the 1990s all-decade team, and he was selected a first-team All-Pro six times as a cornerback, safety or kick returner.

"I'm excited that we have a Hall of Fame player who is coming back to the organization," Jackson said in the team-issued statement. "I was extremely impressed during the interview process with his communication skills, and I'm looking forward to Rod imparting his wealth of knowledge to our players."

Woodson told "NFL Total Access" that he hoped to give his players a "first-person take of it, on what I did on the field, things I enjoyed doing to make it successful to get balls in my hands, and hopefully they can do that, and if I can do that, we'll have a better secondary."


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He also said: "Everybody has a different tool belt. Some guys have a lot of tools in their tool belt, some guys don't. I think what I have to do is give those guys more tools on their tool belt so when they get on to game day, they can perform. And put them in positions they're comfortable with to make plays."

Woodson's 71 career interceptions rank third in NFL history. He is the career leader in interception returns for touchdowns (12) and interception-return yardage (1,483).

Woodson will work in Oakland's secondary with Kevin Ross, who is coaching the safeties.

The Raiders haven't announced who their defensive coordinator will be next season. Chuck Bresnahan, who was defensive coordinator when Woodson played in Oakland, is on staff as a defensive assistant and is a likely candidate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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