Charles Woodson retired from the NFL after the 2015 season, but he won't be leaving football entirely. ESPN announcedthat the future Hall of Famer will join Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown next season. H will replace Keyshawn Johnson to join Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Mike Ditka and Cris Carter.
Woodson will make his ESPN debut in July.
Woodson played 18 seasons as an NFL defensive back -- 11 with the Oakland Raiders and seven with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won a Super Bowl. He is one of the best defensive players in the history of the game. He was named to the Pro Bowl nine times and a first-team All-Pro three times. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 when he racked up nine interceptions, four forced fumbles, 66 tackles and three touchdowns, often playing as a pseudo-linebacker from the cornerback position.
Woodson did all that after winning a national championship at Michigan in 1997 and becoming the first primarily defensive player to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, beating out Peyton Manning and Randy Moss for the honor.
His evolution as a player speaks to his intelligence. Woodson stayed in the NFL for nearly two decades by reinventing himself. Injuries and tiffs with Raiders coaches after his initial seasons in Oakland threatened to derail his career. He went to Green Bay and, after an attitude adjustment, went from a pure cover corner to a player who could fill nearly any role on the defensive side of the ball. He closed out his career in Oakland, where he had five interceptions in 2015 as a ball-hawking safety.
SB Nation's Thomas George profiled Woodson in January, and revealed a reserved man who is beloved by his contemporaries and idolized by the league's younger players. He is my favorite player ever. For the multitudes who already miss him, fear not because Woodson appears to be coming back to our televisions every Sunday.