Oakland Raiders Must Say Goodbye To A Legend At Season’s End


Oakland Raiders legendary defensive back Charles Woodson is reportedly retiring at the end of the season.

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For Charles Woodson, the last three seasons he’s spent with the Oakland Raiders must have been a waking nightmare. To this point, the past three seasons have seen a total of thirteen wins against thirty-three losses. And with just two games remaining in the 2015 season, Woodson has announced that he is hanging up his cleats, bringing to an end one of the most storied careers in NFL history.

Woodson said that following Oakland’s loss to Detroit back in November that he knew this was going to be his last ride. He let his teammates know of his decision on Monday. On one hand, given his age, it’s not entirely surprising. But given how amazingly well he’s played despite being 39 years old, most Raider fans figured he’d found a way to beat back Father Time and would play forever.

Said Woodson:

"“So many of [my] teammates throughout this year have talked to me about next year. ‘Come back next year, I know you’re coming back next year,’ and I would love to, because it’s what I feel about the organization, where I feel like it’s headed. Where it’s going, it would be great to grow with this group of guys. Honestly, I think physically I could do it. My body has responded, but mentally it’s not there, not going to happen.”"

Unlike another superstar retiring at season’s end, Woodson’s play has not dropped off in the least. He’s been one of Oakland’s strongest, sturdiest, and most reliable players. While Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has looked like a shell of himself this year, putting up bad shot after horrible shot and turning in terrible performances, Woodson has defied his age and has played at the highest levels – his solid play and five interceptions likely to earn him a ninth Pro Bowl bid.

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With the organization finally turning around and appearing to be on the right track again – with stars in the making like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack helping return the Raiders back to relevance and on the road to prominence – it would have been nice to think that Woodson would have wanted to stick around to see it through.

But Woodson doesn’t sound like he has any regrets. “I feel like coming back here and playing for the second time, we were able to rekindle something that we had years ago, so it was really fun, man, coming back here and playing.”

Woodson walks away with 65 career interceptions, which is good for fifth place on the all time list – with two games to potentially snag a couple more. He leaves the game with a long, long list of awards, accolades, and the well earned reputation as arguably, one of the very best to ever play the game.

He leaves the game exactly the same way he played it – with class and dignity. Rather than taking the extended victory lap that some athletes do, Woodson made his decision quietly and announced it with just one home date left in the season – giving the fans one last chance to appreciate him and giving him one last chance to appreciate them.

Thursday’s home game against the Chargers – Woodson’s last – marks the end of an era in Raider football. It may potentially be the final game the Raiders play in Oakland. Emotions will most definitely be running high throughout the stadium – most of all, with Woodson.

"“It will be emotional. I’ve been emotional all day, really, so it will be that way Thursday for myself, for my family, friends, for Raider Nation.”"

It will be an emotional day for all of us, indeed.

There is a temptation for some athletes to stay in the game too long. To stay until their legacies have been tarnished and become little more than pale imitations of the former great they once were – just ask Kobe or Peyton Manning. But Woodson goes out at the top of his game, playing at a level that puts him among the top in the game today.

In a perfect world, Woodson would get to hoist the Lombardi trophy one last time before riding off into the sunset. But he leaves the Raiders as a team on the rise. He leaves the Raiders in far better shape than when he first came back. This team is trending upward and Woodson has been a huge part of that. He’s helped change the culture within the locker room and has given the team a strong leader when they needed one most.

The Raiders will never be able to replace a player like Woodson. They will never be able to replace his leadership, his character, his integrity, or his strength. They must now chart a way forward, into the future without one of the greatest players to ever don the Silver and Black.

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We have eight quarters of football left to appreciate seeing Woodson on the field for our Raiders. And all that’s left for us to do is appreciate him for all he’s done for this team, for all he’s given of himself to fans, to the community, and to the organization. All that’s left for us to do is give thanks to Woodson for eighteen years of memories.

Thank you, Charles. Thank you for everything.