Safety Charles Woodson is back for his 18th season in the NFL. His age goes up, but so does his energy, knowledge, and love of the game.
The future Hall of Famer spoke with the media following the Raiders Mandatory Mini-Camp practice.
Players Feed Off Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.'s Energy
"It's fun. Different, just because of how fired up he is every day. Every morning when you walk in, he's the one guy that you're going to hear in the building. When you come in and you hear him, you almost have to be ready for work. It's been great. I think the guys have responded to him and his style."
Amari Cooper is as Good as He's Seen
Woodson has now been able to watch and compete against the Raiders first round draft pick for about a month now and he's impressed. He compared the wide receiver to his former teammate with Green Bay, Greg Jennings, in 2006.
"He's going to be really good. He's going to be really good. Every now and then, you like to make comparisons. I remember in 2006 in Green Bay, we got a kid named Greg Jennings and he was a guy right off the bat, you knew he had it. Amari is the same way. You watch him and his releases, coming off the line, you watch him getting in and out of breaks. It's as good as we have out there on the field. It's as good as I've seen for a young guy coming in."
Age is Just a Number**
At the young age of 38, Woodson should be slowing down…but he's not. CWood feels young and does what is necessary to keep his body and mind healthy for an impactful season.
"I still want to play. Still playing at a high level. When you have those things going for you, why not keep playing? All of the guys that I've played with throughout the years, a lot of them would still love to be playing…. I can play it and I still feel good. I'm going to go out there and give it what I've got."
Learning Never Stops No Matter How Old
Woodson is not concerned with his age or tenure in the NFL when it comes to his desire to be better.
"There's really no secret to being prepared to play this game. It's all about working hard. For me, I still have to take the coaching. I have great coaches. Me playing the safety position, I still feel like I'm learning so much from the position…. I feel like I can still get better at this game, even with it being my 18th year."
Photos from the Raiders Mandatory Mini-Camp Day 1 - June 9, 2015.
Derek Carr Wants to be Great**
"When you're around him, you understand that this guy really wants to be great. He asks a lot of questions about defensively what I see when I'm out there on the field. I think the biggest thing for him, for any player, is your first year playing the whole season then going into your second year. That's the biggest jump. With him starting last year from the first game on and getting that 16 games of experience is going to go far with him. You'll see the jump from him from year one to year two and I think he'll take off."
Former Players as Coaches
"You feel like those guys are going to always keep it straight forward with you. They've been through it. They've been through all the games. There's not going to be a whole lot that you're going to get over them. From their end, you expect that there isn't going to be a lot of gray area. I think that's what you get from having guys that played the game. We're not just talking about guys who played, we've got guys that played at a high level for multiple years. It's great to have those guys because they have the knowledge of the game as well. They've been in big games and they know exactly what they're talking about."
Woodson hasn't missed a practice since the offseason program began. It's a first for the longest-tenured NFL player on the Raiders roster.
"I think this is the first time in my 18-year career that I've been to every practice. Honestly, I sat down with Jack before it all started and we talked about the importance and what he wanted from this team and him wanting me here. I honestly didn't plan on being here every practice, but I'm here. I understood completely what he was talking about. Also, talking with my position coaches, [defensive backs coach] Marcus Robertson, and all of those guys, we decided the best thing to do was be here Day 1 and just continue through the whole thing."