Q**: Charles, it's been like a series of firsts for you, the first time back at the facility, first time putting a Raider uniform on again. What was it like coming back here to Napa and training camp?
Charles Woodson: Well, just coming back up to Napa, that part of it felt good. Walking out here to practice today, you know it was a familiar feeling, haven't been here in a long time since the first time around, and I was just anxious to get out there and run around on the field today and have a little fun out there on the first day out here. That was good.
Q: What appealed to you to come back to the Raiders?
Woodson: A lot of it had to do with the fans. Once it was started to be talked about there was a buzz from the fans. It seems the fans were welcoming the fact of me coming back. That had a great deal to do with it and as far as sitting down at the facilities and working out a deal knowing the fans wanted me to stay there. They didn't want me to leave the facilities without having a deal done.
Q: They would be upset if you didn't use the number 24 because they all pulled the old jerseys out of the closet. So that was a big deal for you, wasn't it?
Woodson: Yeah, it was a big deal, and I got the jersey back in a large part because of the fans. So, a big thank you to the fans for that.
Q: What's different for you now, Charles?
Woodson: Just older, that's really it. I've played the game now going on 16 years and the great thing about it is that it's still fun. I still love it and I plan on having a great deal of fun this season with the guys who are going to the first game. I feel good, my body feels good and, as far as anything being different, I'm a Raider again.
Q: What have you told DJ [Hayden] about the season and getting acclimated to the NFL and have you helped him much?
Woodson: The one conversation that we talked in-depth, the one that we did, I just asked him, "Do you love football?" And he said that he did. For a young guy, that's what you're looking for. Just a guy who loves football because we're all going to make a lot of money once you get into this league but what happens after you get the money? Do you still love to play the game? That's the one thing I got from him was he loves football. So I know he's going to do everything he can do to get back, get himself healthy so he can get out there and take that red jersey off because we don't like that. That's what I found out from him.
Q: That was the first time you saw him on the field, were you able to get any impressions from him?
Woodson: We actually watched a little bit of film yesterday on the practices earlier on and I noticed he's got really good feet. As a corner, that's the first thing you can build on. If you got that foundation of having good feet, you can be a good corner.
Q: Charles, you went through some rough times with the Raiders in the past and this is a team, again, who is trying to turn the corner, trying to find some traction. What, in general, is your feeling about what this team can put together this season?
Woodson: When I look at the way we move around, just speaking defensively, I think we're going to be a fast, flowing defense and I think if you can have that on any team, a team willing to sell out every play and get to the ball, you're going to be in ball games. And offensively, that will take care of itself, but speaking on our side of the ball, I'm anxious for the season to start and get out there and show what we are and I feel really good about that.
Q: Dennis Allen said for a guy who was a 16-year veteran, the pace of the practice might be a little different from a guy who was a rookie. How do you feel about your pace and your practice time, and what do you need out of some of camp now?
Woodson: My age is not going to dictate for me to practice a lot or not practice a lot. I'm going to take as many reps as I can because, like I said before, I still love football. To stand on the sideline, that's not what I enjoy. I like being on the field. So, they're going to have to pull me off the field at times because I love being out there. This is a new defense for me, a new call, so I want to be out there giving the calls and getting the communication down anyway. I'm going to work hard and I feel like there's nobody that's going to outwork me.
Q: It seems like you're going to be a player-coach. What role would you like to play this year?
Woodson: The role is 'lead by example' type of role. I'm going to show the guys what kind of player I am and work hard every day. I'm going to get to the football and try to make plays when I do get to the football, and show them after the amount of time that I've played in this league that I'm a guy who still loves being around the game and still loves to play. I think that will mean a lot to the guys that will be looking at me.
Q: Will you play more of a role of mentor also? It seemed like the first time around you were a player and now it seems like you've been giving more advice to younger players and it's like a mentor role as well as a player.
Woodson: A lot of times I leave that up to the individual. If they want to know something or want to ask me about something, then I'm more than willing to do that. I try not to interject too much because the coaches have their philosophy and the way they like to do things, and I let that run its course. If there's something I see where I feel like I can help, then yeah, but I kind of let that take care of itself and if a guy wants to ask me any question about anything, whether it be on the field or off the field, I've been in a lot of situations on and off so I have something to tell from every facet of life. So, whatever they want to ask, I'm here.
Q: How's it like to be back in the Silver and Black? You spent time with the fans, the fan reaction to your signing was fantastic, and now, you're back here in Napa. How does it all feel to you?
Woodson: The one thing about the fans is they treat me as if I've never left, and that's probably the greatest part of it. And the reception, like I keep saying, when I got back to the facilities a couple months ago, the love that the fans showed me that was huge and that meant a lot to me. That's another reason why you go out and work the way you work, and play the way you play is for the fans. You want to give them the best you can possibly give them of yourself on the field and that's what I plan on doing.