Raiders Plan For Woodson Visit
MICHAEL WAGAMAN,Associated Press
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Charles Woodson will receive quite a greeting from Oakland Raiders fans when he makes a free agent visit to the team’s facilities on Tuesday.
A few of his potential teammates in Oakland will give him a warm reception as well.
Woodson spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Raiders after being selected with the fourth overall pick in 1998. He signed with Green Bay following the 2005 season and helped the Packers win a Super Bowl title five years later before being released by the team in February.
He has said he would like to play for a contender and has visited a handful of teams since being let go by Green Bay — including San Francisco and Denver.
Woodson and the Raiders have also had preliminary talks.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen, whose team began organized team activities on Monday, said he is hopeful of bringing Woodson aboard. Oakland’s secondary has been almost completely revamped for a second straight year and Woodson’s experience might help the transition.
“We’ll see. I want to do anything we can to help this team get better,” Allen said. “We’ll see how that process goes.”
Quarterback Matt Flynn said he would welcome the addition of the eight-time Pro Bowl defensive back. The two spent four years together in Green Bay before Flynn signed with Seattle prior to the 2012 season.
Flynn, obtained in a trade from the Seahawks this offseason, noted Woodson’s influence in the locker room would be equally important to his production on the field.
“Everybody knows he’s a great player but he’s also a great man, a great teammate, a great leader,” Flynn said. “I don’t know what’s happening with all that … but the front office (is) going to make the right decision about what they think is going to be the best for us going forward. We’ll see how it plans out.”
Several Oakland fans began an online campaign via Facebook and Twitter asking others to gather at the Raiders facility in anticipation of Woodson’s arrival. Some who live as far away as Fresno have tweeted they plan to attend in hopes of making Woodson feel welcome.
Woodson was originally scheduled to meet with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and the team’s coaching staff last week, but he had charity obligations to support Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan. He told The Associated Press then that he was open to returning to the Raiders “if things fit.”
If Woodson does re-sign with Oakland it will be under vastly different circumstances than when he left. Al Davis, the man who drafted Woodson, died in October 2011 and left his son, Mark, in control.
Mark Davis hired McKenzie and quickly gave the former Packers front office man almost full autonomy to rebuild the struggling franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2002.
The roster has also undergone a near complete makeover. Only one player, kicker Sebastian Janikowski, remains from the last Raiders team that Woodson played on.
“He’s one of those guys, he’s a great player (and) a great competitor,” Oakland safety Tyvon Branch said. “I’m sure Reggie and D.A. have got something brewed up.”
Notes: LB Miles Burris (knee) and KR/WR Josh Cribbs (knee) did not practice. CB Tracy Porter (calf) and rookie TE Nick Kasa (hamstring) were unable to finish the workout because of their injuries. … Allen said the team has had 98 percent attendance for the offseason workouts. … Tony Bergstrom, a third-round pick in 2012, took reps at left guard with the starting offense. … Brandian Ross has been moved from cornerback to safety.
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