A transcript of Charles Woodson’s conference call with the Bay Area media Wednesday, a day after he signed with the Raiders:
Q: As you were making the trip, had you gotten wind of the fan support you were going to receive?
Woodson: Yeah, I had gotten word that they were going to do it. I didn’t know if it was a fact that it was going to be done, but I got word it was going to happen.
Q: Your impression of driving in and the whole experience?
Woodson: I’ll tell you, man, it was overwhelming. I think that if at any time I’d ever forgotten what the love was like in Oakland, I was definitely reminded yesterday.
Q: What factor would you say the fan gathering played a part in signing back with the Raiders?
Woodson: 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.
Q: You’d talked about playing for a contender, Raiders coming off four-win season, what attracted you to come to Oakland after talking to other teams, including Denver?
Woodson: 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.
Q: Did the Raiders have to sell you on the idea that they were up and coming, or since you had a background with Reggie McKenzie, what role did that play?
Woodson: that definitely played a role because we’re familiar with each other. But after talking to Reggie, I got a good feel about how he felt about the team and that just really gave me confidence that they’re going in the right direction. Going into the facility yesterday, I felt good about where things stood, and if I signed I was going to be going to a team that has good players on the team. The game is about fundamentals and playing good football, and they have some good players, and if we can put it together then we’ll win games.
Q: Was signing here a vote of confidence playing with Matt Flynn who you played with in Green Bay?
Woodson: I think the vote of confidence comes from the coaching staff. They brought him in here, Reggie brought him in here feeling that he was gonna be a big piece. My concern is playing on the defensive side. The offense will take care of itself, but I want to be a part of a defense that’s gonna be a dominant defense, a defense that keeps us in games, and so I’m excited about that aspect of it and getting with a bunch of guys that are ready to fly to the football.
Q: You have always been known as a sure tackler, what do you bring to the Raiders?
Woodson: 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.
Q: In 2002, Rod Woodson came in at about the same age you are now, and had one of his best seasons. Do you have that kind of season in you?
Woodson: I plan on it happening. 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.
Q: Is the collarbone healthy?
Woodson: Collarbone is great.
Q: What position will you play, are you a safety now?
Woodson: Right now it probably will be the same it was last year, come in and play the safety role. I know they have guys they brought in at the corner position Jenkins, Porter and the young kid Hayden. Their corner position looks to be pretty solidified. I’ll play my role at the back end and roam around the field and make plays.
Q: Have you talked to Tracy Porter about No. 24?
Woodson: No we’ll definitely have to have that conversation. We haven’t had it yet. Raider Nation has me back but I don’t know if they’ll have me back without the 24 on my back.
Q: What role did wine business in Napa have in your decision?
Woodson: Zero. This was all about football. It was all about continuing my football career and having an opportunity to go out there and help the team win. That’s the bottom line for me.
Q: Do you have more of a role as a mentor at this point in your career?
Woodson: I’ll do my part. I try to not to step on any coaches toes as far as what I’m telling the young guys or whjat I’m trying to give them. I told guys to ask questions and I’ll always be there to answer those questions. Whatever I can do, whatever input I can give those guys that’s definitely what I will do. If I could be a help to them and it will help us win ultimately I have to do it.
Q: Only Janikowski still around from your first time here, did you recognize a lot of other people in the building?
Woodson: Seabass is the only player but there were plenty of people that I still knew _ equipment guys, film guys, Willie Brown of course. It was great. It had been a while since I had seen Willie Brown. He is one of my favorite people ever. It was great to see him and give him a big hug. We always joke about who the real 24 is. It was good to have that back and forth with him. Getting the deal done and calling him and saying, ‘Willie Brown, I’m coming back. The real 2-4 is coming back.’ It felt good to be in that building. It felt good.
Q: Was there any talk about a role after playing days?
Woodson: I haven’t thought about that. I haven’t discussed that with anybody. Right now I’m just focused on learning what I need to learn as far as different terminology and understanding defense and the way it’s played and getting in and helping this team develop.