Back in Silver and Black

Charles Woodson on returning to Oakland, and still getting that thrill from the roar of the crowd
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PETER KING: You played your first eight seasons in Oakland. When you left for Green Bay in 2006, did you ever think you’d be back?

CHARLES WOODSON: Never. But when I was flying in for my [May free-agent] visit, the plane comes off the water into the Oakland airport, and then I get to the practice facility, and I see all the people—man, it’s like I never left. Like a reunion.

No Al [Davis]. No [ex-CEO] Amy Trask. No [clubhouse man] Run Run Jones. [Davis and Jones died. Trask resigned last spring.] But so many others I recognized—and Willie Brown. I have Willie Brown back. All you need is Willie. There’s the tradition of the Raiders right there.

KING: Will it be strange to take that drive up to Napa again, back to the Napa Marriott for another Raiders training camp?

WOODSON: I can’t wait to get to Napa. I’m excited just thinking about it right now. Honest. How many guys would ever say—especially at my age—they’re excited about going to training camp? But I can’t wait. Can’t wait to play football again.

KING: Speaking of your age, you’re 36. There wasn’t much interest out there for you in free agency. Did you think about doing what Brian Urlacher did—retire even though you felt you could play?