<
>

At 38, Charles Woodson still looking to play next season

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Provided he makes it through the remainder of the season fairly healthy, Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson fully expects to be playing in the NFL in 2015.

"No question," Woodson said Wednesday. "I feel great. Why that is, I have no clue. I'll play this season out and we'll see what happens after that."

The 38-year-old Woodson didn't find much interest as a free agent this past offseason but will undoubtedly be a valued commodity on the open market now.

Woodson is tied for the team lead with 82 tackles and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after reaching a milestone career achievement during last Thursday's 24-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, a victory that ended the Raiders' 16-game losing streak.

Woodson -- the oldest active safety in the league, according to ESPN Stats and Information -- made a rare appearance in the team's locker room to discuss the award and he also talked about the possibility of still playing even though he's set to turn 39 in October.

"The funny thing is I never thought about getting to 17 [seasons]," Woodson said. "I'm not thinking about going into the 40s but I don't know. I'm playing well. If we're just comparing to other safeties or DBs in the league, I think I would fare pretty well in that respect. And I'm having fun playing."

Woodson won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2009 while with the Green Bay Packers but he returned to Oakland last year because of what he said was unfinished business. The Raiders drafted Woodson with the fourth overall pick in 1998 and went to the playoffs three times in his eight seasons in Oakland but failed to win a Super Bowl.

He won a championship with the Packers in 2010 and would love nothing better than to do the same for the Raiders.

"It would mean a great deal to play here and get back into the playoffs and have a chance of going to the Super Bowl," Woodson said. "Coming into this season I had all the confidence in the world that we would be a much better team than what we are.

"I don't know what happens after this year but if I do decide to play again and it's here, I'm going to have the same feeling. It can turn fast. It takes a couple people here and there and it takes guys to buy into what's going on."

Interim coach Tony Sparano wouldn't be shocked if Woodson continues to play next season and beyond.

"Nothing he does surprises me," Woodson said. "He's a really competitive person. It would not surprise me if he played into his 40s."