5 Most Influential Raiders of All Time: #4 Charles Woodson

Source: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Freshly inducted into the Hall of Fame, Charles Woodson has left his mark on the National Football League forever. His career in the NFL was exceptional. We all know that. His impact on the Raiders, however, stretches far beyond his work on the field.

Let’s take a look at Woodson’s on-the-field accomplishments, as well as how he has changed the Raiders off the field.

Before the NFL

Charles Woodson is a beloved and forever-remembered Michigan Wolverine, where he played three mind-blowing seasons. His three years of college football were filled with numerous awards and recognitions. Woodson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after a 5 interception and 8 takeaway season.

He followed up his freshman season with a fantastic sophomore season. Woodson set a Michigan record with 15 pass breakups in 12 games. He also had 4 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. His impressive show-out in year 2 earned him the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year, but that’s not all. He was also named AP First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten.

His impressive freshman and sophomore seasons were followed up with another fantastic season. Woodson spent his junior season on offense, defense, and special teams. While he primarily played defensive back, Woodson also saw snaps at wide receiver and quarterback. His junior season concluded with 231 receiving yards, 7 interceptions, and 28 passing yards.

His ability to play all over the field with remarkable performance earned him the Heisman Trophy. Woodson beat out none other than fellow Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning for the prestigious award. After his highly decorated three years in college, Woodson decided to declare for the 1998 NFL Draft, a feat not soon forgotten.

Life with the Raiders

Charles Woodson was drafted #4 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 1998 as a defensive back. In his rookie season, he proved to the Raiders the kind of player they had drafted. Woodson finished his debut season with 5 interceptions, 1 touchdown, and a Pro Bowl selection. His rookie season was followed by three more Pro Bowl selections the following three seasons. The Raiders knew they had drafted a game-changing player.

Woodson’s career with the Raiders seemed to have ended when he signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2006. What Raider Nation didn’t know at the time was that he would be back. After playing six seasons for Green Bay, winning a Super Bowl, and an impressive four more Pro Bowl selections, Woodson returned to Oakland in 2013.

Between 2013 and 2015, Woodson had 10 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries, and 284 tackles. He also added to his impressive Pro Bowl history with his final Pro Bowl selection in 2015, making nine total selections in his career. After the 2015 season, Woodson decided to retire after a 17 season, monstrous career.

Woodson ended his NFL career with 65 interceptions, 11 touchdowns, 18 fumble recoveries, and a mind-blowing 1,220 tackles. He earned his Pro Football Hall of Fame selection each time he took the field.

After Retirement

Regardless of what he chose to do next, Woodson would be forever talked about by the Raiders and the NFL. Since retiring, Woodson has continued to play a significant role for current Raiders players. Current Raiders safety Johnathan Abram, also wearing number 24, has received words of wisdom from Woodson since the night he was drafted.

Raider Nation may remember Woodson releasing a video welcoming Johnathan Abram to the Raiders on draft night in 2019. Woodson gave Abram some words of advice, “See Ball, Get Ball,” a motto Woodson himself lived by. Woodson has since expressed his desire to guide Abram through his career to help him be great. Woodson’s impact on the Raiders goes far beyond football, and this is proof.

Charles Woodson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the 2021 class, capping off a beautiful career.

The mark Woodson left on the Raiders and the NFL will not be forgotten as he continues to guide young players and remind them they have the tools to be great, like he was.

Stay tuned to find out which phenomenal Raider will join the list tomorrow at #3.

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