Polian understands Woodson's role on team

One of the reasons why the Oakland Raiders signed Charles Woodson at the age of 36 is to be a mentor to their large group of young defensive players.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen told me as much earlier in training camp.

In a conference call with reporters, former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said leadership is a huge reason why aging stars like Woodson are brought to young teams like Oakland.

“[Mentoring] is clearly the role Charles can play because he's been such a great player over time and such a great leader and a great person,” Polian said. “I'm sure that's what the organization knows for sure he can bring. What he can give you as a player is almost a bonus in that situation when you're in this kind of a rebuilding mode.”

Polian equated Woodson's signing to the time he brought defensive end Art Still to Buffalo in 1988 after Still had played in Kansas City for 10 years.

“I was able to see what value Art brought, and we brought him in at the very tail end of his career in Buffalo to be in essence a role model for all of those other young players to say here's a guy who's been an All-Pro, who's a really great player, who still has a little bit left, but he knows he's approaching the end, and he will give you -- just follow him,” Polian said. “Just do what he does, and you'll learn how to become a winner in the National Football League.“