Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: You said at the end of the season that you were going to come back this year. Were you pretty confident it was going to happen all along?
Woodson: “Yeah, I was pretty confident that it would happen, I guess, initially when I said it because the feedback was very positive. The last couple of weeks I got kind of nervous. I hadn’t really talked too much to the Raiders. I know they’re busy, of course, making a lot of moves. So, I was getting a little antsy, but I guess in the back of my mind I felt like it would happen, so I’m pleased that it did.”
Q: What do you think of the moves the team has made on defense?
Woodson: “I like it. I think you bring in some veteran guys, some guys that are winners, guys that have been champions in this league – talking about [Justin] Tuck and [LaMarr] Woodley. Bringing in [Antonio] Smith and other guys that can play at a high level. I think they are good moves. I think you are bringing in some experience and then I think you fill some other holes some youth and you have that combination of the two, and I think that we’ll be really good this year.”
Q: You had mentioned that you may retire if you didn’t return to the Raiders. Would you have retired had you not agreed with the Raiders or could you have seen yourself playing somewhere else this season?
Woodson: “Honestly, I didn’t want to have to talk to anybody else. It would have been a strong consideration had I not come back here. The one thing about it is I feel like I have a lot of football left. That’s one of the reasons why I continue to want to play here with Oakland because I feel like I have a lot of football left. Of course, it would have been a thought. I would have had to go through that process of do I want to go play for another team or just hang it up and retire. Those are things I would have had to think about, but I’m glad it got done to where I can go ahead and play the game that I love, the game that I can still play at a high level.
Q: In terms of your future, are you taking it one year at a time? Are you thinking you can play two more? Have you put much thought into that?
Woodson: “I think at this point, you just take it one year at a time. I signed a one-year deal, so that’s all I have right now and I just want to make the most of it. At this age, being 37, everyone is looking for me to have a dramatic drop-off in what I do and at the end of the year they think he probably won’t play anymore. So, I’m just taking it one year at a time. I’ll do my best to help this team get over the hump and get back into the playoffs. Once that’s done, we’ll go from there.”
Q: What have your observations been when playing against
Woodson: “I think he’s had a very solid career. I think people look at Schaub and only look at his last year. I think they base his career off of his last year. But, I see a guy that, in my opinion, has been very steady. He’s done some really good things throughout his time. Sometimes you just need a fresh start, a new set of circumstances to restart, to restart your history. Hopefully this is the place that he can get it done. I know he’ll help us win, that’s one thing for sure. A veteran player, he’s been around for a long time, and he knows how to win games. He’ll help the team win.”
Q: What do you think
Woodson: “That’s what James is, he’s a tough guy, a tough player, a smart player. He’s another guy that they brought in that knows how to win. James is a champion, as well. We were champions together. I’m just excited that they’re bringing in guys that can help change the culture. It’s been a long time since the Oakland Raiders have been to the playoffs and you bring some people that have been to the playoffs and know what it’s all about. He’s another one of those guys."