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Charles Woodson announces he will retire after the regular season

Woodson is a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson announced on Monday that he will retire at the end of the regular season. Woodson is one of the best defensive backs to ever play in the NFL and a sure-fire Hall of Fame player.

"It's important for me to let Raider Nation know now," Woodson said, with two games remaining in the regular season. The Raiders were eliminated from playoff contention after a loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15.

Woodson, 39, is a legendary cornerback who switched to safety as he got older. Despite his age, an age well beyond the norm for defensive backs (or really, anybody who isn't a quarterback or a kicker), Woodson is among the top safeties in the league.

"It will be emotional. I've been emotional all day, so it will be that way Thursday for Raider Nation," Woodson said. "It was really fun coming back here and playing, so it will be a pretty emotional day."

When he signed with the Raiders in 2013, Woodson credited the reception he got from fans when he visited Oakland as a big reason for his decision.

Despite being in the NFL since 1998, Woodson has played with just two teams, spending the first part of his career with the Raiders before joining the Green Bay Packers through 2012. After that season, he returned to the Raiders and has been a leader in the locker room ever since.

Woodson has a Super Bowl ring from Super Bowl XLV, has been named to the Pro Bowl eight times, including as recently as 2011, and has been named an All-Pro defensive back seven times. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998 and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He led the league in interceptions in 2009 and 2011, and is tied for sixth in the league with five interceptions this year.

Woodson is tied with Ken Riley for fifth all-time with 65 interceptions.

He will play in front of his final home crowd when the Raiders host the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, and he'll try and play spoiler for the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Week 17.