One of the NFL's ageless wonders announced his retirement Monday. Charles Woodson, an 18-year veteran who spent his career with the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers, has decided to hang up his cleats at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
"2015 is going to be my last season playing in the NFL," Woodson said. "Was it a tough decision? Kind of. But in a way, a couple weeks ago it hit me that this would be it."
Selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, Woodson became one of the best cornerbacks in the league during his initial run with the Raiders. He earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors as well as four Pro Bowl nods and an All-Pro selection during his initial run in Oakland.
However, the most successful period of Woodson's career took place in Green Bay, where he won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2009 and became a Super Bowl champion the following year. As a member of the Packers, Woodson also earned two first-team All-Pro selections.
But Woodson's list of accolades doesn't fully encapsulate his importance to those Packers teams. He helped bring the team out of the Brett Favre era and into its current one with Aaron Rodgers, and served as one of the locker room leaders. His speech following the 2010-11 NFC title game remains one of the most memorable moments in Packers history.
"Charles Woodson is one of the players that comes along and reminds you why you love the game," said Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who helped bring Woodson to Green Bay in 2006. "He is truly a one of a kind player that goes above and beyond his Heisman trophy and future gold jacket. It has been an honor to have worked alongside Charles for so many years and have the confidence to call him what he truly is: the G.O.A.T."
Barring an unlikely change of heart, Woodson should become eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame following the conclusion of the 2020 season.