Even after 18 years in the NFL, 39-year-old Charles Woodson is still earning meaningful awards. The NFL named Woodson the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October and the Heisman Trophy winner says that the awards and accolades are still important after all the tackles, interceptions and game-changing plays.
"It means a great deal, I love what I do, I love my job," Woodson said. "It just says that there's a reason why I'm still here because I'm able to go out there and do my job and do it well."
As the elder statesman of the Raiders defense, Woodson takes his role as a veteran leader and mentor seriously.
"I'm out there always trying to be an example to whoever's watching. Any time you step between the white lines, it's game on, no matter what the score is, if you're up or down," Woodson said. "Any chance that you're out there on the field, it's about setting an example."
Woodson is currently tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with four, collecting three in October. As much as been written and said about his age, Woodson knows that he needs to be a difference maker to stay in the game.
"If I wasn't I wouldn't be around, trust me, the league finds ways to weed guys my age out of the game," Woodson said. "If you're going to be out there, you have to be making plays. It's a great feeling to have that type of longevity to be playing at the level I'm playing with, in the NFL, is awesome."
When Woodson first entered the NFL in 1998, he was afforded the opportunity to play a little offense. He has two career catches for 27 yards. Quarterback Derek Carr recently said that Woodson has been lobbying for that chance again.
"Just you wait, might have a surprise for you," Woodson deadpanned.
Asked if he could follow up AFC Defensive Player of the Month award with an AFC Offensive Player of the Month nod, Woodson quipped, "Why wouldn't I?"