Raiders safety Charles Woodson has announced that he will retire after this season. A likely first-ballot Hall of Famer, Woodson won a Heisman Trophy at Michigan, was the No. 4 overall pick in 1998, won a Super Bowl with Green Bay, is an eight-time Pro Bowler, and has 65 interceptions and 13 touchdowns in his career.
Still, it’s hard to believe that Woodson, even at 39, is calling it quits.
“I was surprised,” CBS NFL analyst Rich Gannon said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I talked to Charles probably a month ago, and I didn’t get any indication he was even thinking about it. He’s having a terrific year. You got the sense he’d come back and play another year because he’s having fun. I think part of his legacy has been to turn this organization back around. When we were there together, we had a lot of success. He goes off to Green Bay, wins a Super Bowl, comes back to Oakland, and the team was really bad and lacked leadership and a real plan. The fact that he’s there now, they’re a much more competitive team, they’ve got a young quarterback and receiver who I think have bright futures in this league, so I thought he’d see it out at least anther season. I was really surprised to hear the news yesterday.”
Woodson will play the final home game of his career on Thursday against the Chargers. It could also be the Raiders’ final game in Oakland – though Gannon doesn’t think it will be.
“I don’t think they’re going to leave and here’s why,” he said. “I think two teams wind up in Los Angeles, and my guess is it’s going to be San Diego and St. Louis. I think there’s concern about the Raiders going down there and whether or not they can be a good fit with some of the other league owners and whether they have the resources to make that happen. This is not an ownership group that has a ton of cash, and so I think that unfortunately the Raiders may be the odd man out when it comes to the situation in Los Angeles.”
Sticking in the AFC West, the Broncos (10-4) maintain a one-game lead over the Chiefs (9-5) for the division crown. Denver, however, has failed to score a second-half point in its last three games and has lost two straight, including a 34-27 loss to the Steelers this past Sunday. The Broncos led 27-13 at the break but were outscored 21-0 thereafter.
“It’s amazing they can’t put two halves of football together,” Gannon said. “(Brock Osweiler) looked really good in the first half last week against the Steelers. The second half, not so good.”
Denver was also shut out in the second half of a 15-12 home loss to the Raiders in Week 14 – a game in which Osweiler threw the ball 51 times.
“That’s not what they want to do with this guy,” Gannon said. “They haven’t run (the ball) well enough and they have two games to right the ship. Cincinnati is not going to be easy to run against. San Diego, they shouldn’t have a problem there. But they’ve got to be able to run the football and they’ve got to be able to settle on a quarterback. So they’ve got some tough decisions to make here in the next 10 days.”
Kansas City, meanwhile, has won eight straight games since its 1-5 start.
“They’re more explosive in the passing game,” Gannon said. “The one thing I worry about with Kansas City is if they fall behind in a game and get in a situation where they’ve got to throw it, can they open it up enough offensively? The protection is not great. The one thing Alex (Smith) does is get the ball out quick. Their passing is quick, short, intermediate throws. They do a good job not holding the football back there in the pocket.”