"My NFL portrait is not finished yet, and it won't be until this last game is over. But it was on my mind. It crossed my mind every moment I was out there. It was like, everything I do now -- going to meetings, special-teams period, getting in the hot tub, getting in the cold tub, maybe the steam room -- this'll be the last week that I do it."*
Last week, Charles Woodson announced that he would be hanging up his cleats following the 2015 season and retiring after 18 tremendous seasons in the NFL. A lock to be enshrined in Canton in just a few years, the nine-time Pro Bowler just played his last game at home in a victory over the Chargers, and is reflecting on his decision to retire as well as documenting his final week as an NFL player over at ESPN.com:
"I woke up the morning of the Detroit game and, almost immediately, I was like, This is it. Why? What hit me in that moment? I guess I felt like if somebody would've called and said, 'C-Wood, the weather's so bad around the city, nobody can get anywhere, and the game's actually been canceled,' I would've been all right with it. I've never felt that way about being in a game before. Never in my life on game day did I feel like I would be cool with it if the game wasn't played. To feel like that on a Sunday, I knew it was time. It just hit me out of the blue."*
Like his many fans, Woodson has mixed feelings about his retirement, even though he knew the day had to come eventually:
"Bittersweet. That's probably the best way to describe it."
For more from Charles on his final week on the league and what it means to him, read his full piece here.