SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Free agent Charles Woodson signed a one year contract with the Oakland Raiders that could pay the 36-year-old defensive back as much as $4.3 million, including incentives.
Woodson, the fourth overall pick in the 1998 draft by Oakland, returns to a vastly different franchise than the one he left following his eighth season with the team in 2005. Owner Al Davis died in October 2011 and the team is now run by Davis’ son, Mark. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski is the only player left from Woodson’s eight years in Oakland that included three straight AFC West titles and a trip to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season.
The Raiders haven’t had a winning season or a playoff berth since, adding to the fans’ desire to bring back Woodson and a connection to past successes.
The 36-year-old was released by the Green Bay Packers in a salary-cutting move Feb. 15, with two years remaining on his contract. Woodson had also recently talked to two contenders, the 49ers and Broncos. So why did the eight-time Pro-Bowl selection sign with the Raiders?
“Like everything else, I would have to guess money,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “I think it was important to (Raiders owner) Mark Davis (to get) some continuity in the defensive backfield and just get a guy who’s a solid player. Woodson has always been a solid player.”
The move will be widely popular with Raiders fans, many of whom staked out the team’s facility on Tuesday to greet Woodson on his visit and urge him to sign with the team.
The NFL chose the Bay Area and the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as the site for Super Bowl L in 2016. Some say it could be the biggest party ever in the Bay Area.
“You know the one that would be hard to beat for a bigger party would be New Orleans,” Madden said. “They know how to party.”
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh will drive the pace car in the Indianapolis 500 Sunday.
“Knowing him, I bet he’ll be good at it,” Madden said. “Someone wrote somewhere today, and maybe even Jim said that he’s going to run that pace lap and just keep going. Obviously he’s not, but in the world of sports if anyone did do that it would be him.” (7:40)