Charles Woodson

Raiders coach envisions Woodson taking charge

Published: Thursday, May. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 28, 2013 - 8:24 am

ALAMEDA – The excitement caused by the signing of defensive back Charles Woodson on Tuesday wasn't limited to the outside of the building.

Woodson's return to the place where he began his NFL career sent a surge of adrenaline through the inside of the facility as well, Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Wednesday.

"He has his ideals and his thought process and he's not afraid to express his opinion," Allen said. "We had a great conversation, and I'm looking forward to getting a guy in here like that who can bring that added dimension to the team."

Allen pointed to Woodson's 55 career interceptions, 11 of which have been returned for touchdowns. He also pointed to the leadership skills that emerged when his career ascended in Green Bay after signing as a free agent for the 2006 season.

"You see the talent and the player, but when you combine that with the maturation process he's gone through, he's a real pro," Allen said. "It was evident in visiting with him that he wanted to be a Raider. He wanted to be a part of what we're doing here. When you bring in a guy with those attributes, those leadership abilities, it was a good fit."

One thing the Raiders are not concerned about is Woodson's health. In two of the past three seasons, Woodson, 36, has broken his right collarbone – once in Super Bowl XLV and again last season, causing him to miss the last six regular-season games.

"That was one of the things we wanted to make sure of when we brought Charles in here," Allen said. "We wanted to make sure everything was fine and he was healthy, and from a medical standpoint we didn't have any issue with it."

Woodson said he has no intention of being an aging mentor playing out his golden years in silver and black.

"I would have retired if I thought I couldn't go out there and be the best player on the field," Woodson said.

Bears – Brian Urlacher wasn't sure how dominant he could be any longer, so he's calling it a career after 13 seasons with Chicago.

And what a career it was: Eight Pro Bowl seasons; Defensive Player of the Year in 2005; a trip to the Super Bowl as 2006 NFC champion.

The linebacker announced his retirement through social media.

"Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards," Urlacher said in a statement.

Jets – Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, and Geno Smith talked about the improvements he needs to make. It's early, but the two quarterbacks considered the front-runners for the starting job didn't exactly impress during New York's first practice of organized team activities open to the media.

Count coach Rex Ryan among those who weren't thrilled.

"I want there to be a sense of urgency with this football team to protect this football," Ryan said. "Above anything else, protect the football and, along those lines, protect the quarterback. I think that's critical."

• Smith enlisted rap artist Jay-Z's new Roc Nation Sports to represent him. Smith, who fell to the Jets in the second round in last month's draft, fired his agents – Select Sports – shortly after the draft.

• Running back Mike Goodson pleaded not guilty to drug and weapons charges.

Steelers – Tight end Heath Miller is pleased with his recovery from a devastating knee injury but said it's too early to tell when he'll return.

Arena time for Tebow? – Philadelphia Soul part-owner Ron Jaworski said he is serious about his offer to former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow to join the Arena Football League team.

Jaworski, a former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, reached out to Tebow a day after New York released him in April. Jaworski has yet to hear from Tebow but expects to.

"I love the guy," Jaworski said. "I want him here just for his leadership.

"I know Tim's in a funk right now, but I think he's got to have a career path. What's he going to do to get back (to the NFL)?"

The Orlando Predators also have expressed interest in Tebow.

Tebow is a free agent and hasn't garnered interest from NFL teams since being cut. Agent Jimmy Sexton did not immediately return a call for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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