Charles Woodson is going back to where it all began, agreeing to a one-year deal with the team that drafted him, the Oakland Raiders, on Tuesday. After being released by the Green Bay Packers in February, Woodson, 36, received a hero's welcome from Raider Nation at the team's facility in his official return.
Levi Damien of SB Nation's Raiders site, Silver and Black Pride, had an excellent question and answer session with Woodson on Wednesday during a conference call with local media. Here are a few excerpts from the full interview.
Woodson, on the impact the fan's response had on his signing:
Oh, I think it played a big part. I think I was actually scared of leaving the facility and not having a deal done. I don't know if I would have made it out of there. But that was a big deal, and receiving that kind of welcome, it definitely put me in a mindset that it would be a good decision to make it happen.
On wanting to sign with a contender and his thoughts on Oakland's current squad:
Well, that was definitely my sentiment going into free agency that I wanted to go and finish up somewhere that was on the verge. Certainly, a couple of teams that brought me in, San Francisco and Denver, obviously two teams that have that chance. Those two places didn't work out. Just as the process kind of rolled on, I knew I wanted to play football, regardless of really where I played. At that point I had to figure out what I wanted to do, and playing football was what I wanted to do so it was going to be somewhere, if it was a team that wasn't quite there but still is a team that is looking on the up, then I was going to do it. And I feel that the Raiders are a team that are looking on the up.
On what he brings to the Raiders:
You know what, I'm just gonna bring the intensity. I'm a football player so I'm gonna bring a lot of intensity, somebody that's passionate about the game, and a guy that knows how to make plays. That's what I'm going to bring. I think when guys watch me play, I think that raises the level of other guys because of the way I play the game. I'm gonna bring that mindset, that mentality to the game, the same as I always have and have fun doing it.
On what he's got left in the tank:
I wouldn't be out there trying to continue to play if I didn't think it was going to happen. I would have just retired if I thought I couldn't go out there and be the best player on the field. I'm going in there with the mindset that I'm going to be the best player on the field. That's how I feel.
There's plenty more from Woodson on the free agency process, including his talks with the Denver Broncos, and returning to his NFL roots in Oakland in Damien's complete chat. Be sure to give it a read here.