Following the Nnamdi Asomugha retirement press conference, I stepped into a hallway for a short interview with safety Charles Woodson. The following is a transcription:
Q: You don’t any part of a retirement press conference, do you?
Woodson: Not yet. Not yet.
Q: But does it make you think about it at least?
Woodson: I was just telling (Nnamdi), sitting up there, being up there with him, you know that day is coming. When he said that it was hard for him to say the retirement word, I know I’m going to feel the same way. But for me, mentally I’m not there. If I was mentally ready to go . . .
Q: That’s what Nnamdi was talking about, having some doubts about playing . . .
Woodson: Yeah. Chances are it’s time to sit it down then, but I ain’t there.
Q: You’ve played a ton of snaps, played almost every practice snap and every training camp snap. There was a question coming in whether you would hold up physically at age 37 . . .
Woodson: I think it says that a lot of people don’t know what they’re talking about as far as my health, my legs. I know all the talk was, his legs aren’t going to hold up. He can’t run any more. Of course I had the collarbone, but collarbones heal. I hurt it two times and it was kind of freakish, the way it happened. But as far as me being able to go out there and do everything I’ve normally done, I can do all of those things and that’s really part of the reason why I say I want to come back and play another one because I don’t feel what a lot of people feel at this point in time in their career, I don’t feel that yet. I know I’ll know. But I don’t just yet.
Q: You’ve got one interception, scored a touchdown, but do you feel you’re playing up to a Charles Woodson standard of performance?
Woodson: I play safety, I play free, almost exclusively been in the post. My whole career I’ve been at corner or I’ve been nickel, I’ve been down in the box. So there was a lot of other things I was doing that affects games. But I think if you look at exclusively playing the free safety position, I think kind of the way you measure it is look at the other free safeties in the NFL and just ask yourself if I compare. I think that’s kind of the way you do it. This is my first time ever being exclusively a free safety. Now I do feel like I’ve left some plays out there on the field. I just don’t feel like I’ve made enough plays.
Q: You feel that way every year, don’t you?
Woodson: I think you’d feel like that anyway. Yeah, you know, one interception, a touchdown, that was great, but I feel like I’ve left a lot of plays out there on the field and I think a part of that is me really, really transitioning at being a safety.
Q: So at this point in your career you’re still learning?
Woodson: Still learning. To me, that’s the great part about it. I feel like I’m better than most safeties right now. And I feel I’ll get better before I ever get worse.
Q: Still love playing as much as ever?
Woodson: Forget about it. Know what I’m saying? I love it.
Q: You’ve been pretty clear in your belief that the current regime should stay intact . . .
Woodson: I think looking at circumstances. I think over the past couple of years what they’ve done with the team in trying to get into a position where in the offseason they’ll be able to bring in more pieces, a lot more cap space, and those sort of things. I think you almost think you’d give a guy a chance to bring in some more pieces that he thinks he needs to get it done.
Q: You’ve been on Raider teams before that have faded, is this feeling the same?
Woodson: It is now. It’s like that in the sense that this is the last game of the season and up until three, four weeks ago, we could still win and this could happen and that could happen. Now it’s, this is the last game, the season’s going to be over. There’s no playoffs, that’s out of the question. So there’s almost a natural feeling of, `ahh’ here we go again with this. Especially for the guys that have been here. But that’s natural. You can’t get away from that. There’s a lot of other teams going through that same thing right now.
Q: Do you think the fact that McKenzie and Allen are seeking guys that are serious, that love football, will pay off at some point?
Woodson: I think it is going to pay off. I think just a little bit of success that we had this year. The support from the fans and some of these guys that never played here as a Raider and going out there in that Coliseum. That Sunday night game against San Diego, that was special. IF we can et the team where it needs to be and we can get that all the time with those fans knowing we got a shot at the playoffs, I think those guys understand it’s going to be like no other place you’re going to play.
Q: Have you had discussions with Reggie about coming back?
Woodson: I’ve made mention. I’ve told you guys in the media and brushed up against Reggie and let him know. So we’re just going to see what happens.