The Las Vegas Raiders are in the midst of rebuilding their defense ahead of the 2021 season, but there have been some terrific defenders in the franchise’s history.
Charles Woodson –whom many consider being one of the greatest defensive players ever– spent his first seven seasons with the then-Oakland Raiders after an excellent college career at Michigan. Woodson became the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy and would later go on to star in the NFL as a defensive back.
As a member of the Raiders, Woodson made First-team All-Pro and Second-team All-Pro twice each and three Pro Bowl appearances. He later won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2009 as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
“I couldn’t hold it together when I found out. You tell yourself you won’t cry, but when the moment comes, it’s real. When (Baker) comes up, you know what that means, and it hits you. When I turned around and saw my two boys and my wife and my mom … I tried to hold it back, but when the emotions are real and raw, you have to let the tears flow. I felt like I had been running all my life. So as soon as David Baker left the house, I went and ran like a mile, mile and a half. I just had to get that last one out of the way.”
Woodson also opened up about why he played so hard every week despite injuries:
“I was a guy each and every week who gave it all I had. It didn’t matter if I was healthy or not. Broken leg in the playoffs. Dislocated my shoulder in the opening week of my 18th year and playing a full season. I left it all on the field. That’s what I want people to remember and say about me — there’s a reason he’s in the Hall of Fame.”
The selection is more than deserved as Woodson is one of the most accomplished and well-respected players in league history. The Silver and Black should be honored Woodson played for the organization as he represented the team and its fans well during his playing days.