DB Charles Woodson reaches up to make the catch during the OTA session. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Written by Alex Krempasky
Tuesday marked the start of the second week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) for the Raiders. It was also the first on-field appearance for DB Charles Woodson since signing with the team last week.
Woodson was welcomed back by over 100 Raiders fans last week at headquarters. It reminded him of the support of Raider Nation. "I think that if at any time I'd ever forgotten what the love was like in Oakland, I was definitely reminded yesterday," Woodson said on a conference call last week.
The unwavering support of Raider Nation is something Woodson hopes all of the current roster gets to experience. "There's a lot of energy here," Woodson said. "A lot of these guys know that; they don't know that feeling to be that type of team here and have the fans behind you. So to have the fans here at the facility last week welcoming me back meant a lot. I appreciate Raider Nation for that."
LB Nick Roach believes that Woodson is going to be a great addition to the 2013 Raiders team. "He's a legend," Roach said. "A living legend who is still playing, still playing at a high level. I played against him many times when I was back in Chicago. I think he is going to be great for the locker room. Just having the experience and just having that knowledge and being in so many situations, so many playoff games and Super Bowls; it's going to be great."
DB Usama Young, who also joined the Silver and Black this off-season, is excited to work with and compete against Woodson. "Its one of those things where you want the best players to be on your team and a guy like that who's name everybody knows, Charles Woodson, probably going to be a hall-of-famer, pro-bowler, all-pro, he started his career here," said Young. "I'm looking forward to picking his brain a little bit, the same way I do any other vet that's been a good player in this league and an elite player in this league. Talking to him, trying to get as much as I can about the game before I get to year 15, God-willing."
DE Jason Hunter is familiar with Woodson after playing with him in Green Bay from 2006-2008. "Charles Woodson is a great player, has a great career, made a lot of great plays, so just to have him a part of our defense is tremendous," Hunter said. "He loves the game of football, he plays hard, practices hard. I'm excited. When I knew we were getting him, I was definitely excited because I was with him in Green Bay so I knew as a player how he plays and how he works and his work ethic, and I know how dedicated he is. I'm looking forward to seeing him go out there and have a great season."
Coach Allen recognizes the impact new veteran players such as Woodson, Young and CB Tracy Porter will have on the team in the upcoming season. "I think any time you've got guys that have been through it and they've won the ultimate prize in this league, they kind of know what it takes to get there," Coach Allen said. "It's not easy. It's a real challenge to get that done and having guys that have done it and been through it, I think that's a positive. I said this the other day, Charles Woodson plays the game with a little bit of a swagger. That's what the real good teams do, so hopefully he'll bring some of that with him to our football team."
Coach Allen and the Raiders will continue to fine-tune their team during this week of OTAs and will be one step closer to preseason kickoff in August.
"I wouldn't use the term 'rebuilding,'" Coach Allen said. "We're trying to win. I think that's what you do in this league and you try to win football games. We're going to try to do whatever we feel like we need to do to try to do that. I do think we've brought in some pieces that I think will help us in that regard."