Around the NFL  

 

Charles Woodson: I couldn't have scripted it any better

Print

Charles Woodson earned the Gatorade bath at the conclusion of Thursday night's Oakland Raiders 23-20 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers, the last home game for the 18-year pro.

The Pro Bowl safety addressed the Oakland crowd after the win, leading them in a "Rai-ders! Rai-ders!" chant one final time.

"You welcomed me back with open arms as if I never left," Woodson told the still packed house. "I just want to let you know how much that means to me and my family. It's been a joy for me to come back here and play for a second time around."

Despite nearly two decades in the NFL, Woodson still earned one first Thursday night, getting the only carry of his career. The play was called "Heisman Pass" in which Woodson took the ball on the reverse with the option to throw or pass. He was tackled for a three-yard loss.

"I should have just went out for a pass," Woodson said, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "I got one game left, I can't leave with negative-3 yards."

The three-yard loss is one of the few negatives in a sterling football career.

Woodson entered the NFL having won the Heisman Trophy as a primarily defensive player. As a corner and safety with the Raiders and Green Bay Packers, Woodson was selected to nine Pro Bowls (including this season), a three-time All-Pro selection, led the NFL in interceptions twice (nine in 2009 and seven in 2011), named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

Woodson is the only player in NFL history with 20-plus sacks and 60-plus interceptions (no other player even has 20-plus sacks and 50-plus INTs). The 39-year-old defender is tied for fifth most interceptions since 1940 with 55 -- every player with more INT is in the Hall of Fame: Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, Rod Woodson, Night Train Lane.

"It's funny," Woodson said Thursday. "I told my teammates earlier in the day if I would have been as a child, sitting down, writing the script on how it would be and how it would go, I don't think I could have ever written it better than it actually happened."

The final chapter to be written comes with a gold jacket and a speech in Canton.

Print