When the Packers cut a deal with Charles Woodson in 2006, they were taking a big chance on a player that had struggled through most of his career with the Raiders. The risk turned out to be well worth it as Woodson has not only become a very productive player but also well loved by Packer fans.
Aside from an outstanding rookie season, Woodson struggled immensely during his time with the Raiders. Injuries consistently cut his season short. In fact, he hadn’t played a single full season since 2001. In his last two years as a Raider, Charles finished the season on IR. His last season, 2005, he suffered a broken leg and, despite his potential, made teams around the league afraid to pull the trigger on a free agent contract.
In April of 2006, the Packers did pull the trigger and the move shifted Woodson’s career into high gear.
As a Raider, Woodson never had more than 5 INTs in a single season. When he stepped on the field as a Green Bay Packer in 2006, Charles pulled 8 INTs out of the sky and scored a touchdown. From that first season in green and gold, the man never looked back. In 2008 he picked off seven and scored twice. In 2009 he grabbed nine INTs and crossed the goal line three times.
We all remember Woodson for his superb work in pass coverage, run support, and terrorizing quarterbacks when on a blitz, but Charles also gave the offense good field position as a kick returner. In Oakland, Woodson was only able to muster an average of 6.4 yards per return with a long of 15, but in his early years with the Packers Woodson averaged 8.4 yards with a long of 40 in his first season and a long of 34 in 2007.
What a difference a single year can make. The Charles Woodson who dressed in black in 2005 left Oakland disappointed and despised. The Charles Woodson who donned the green and gold in 2006 made a statement to the league that he was not only a force to be reckoned with but he was a force that was nearly impossible to reckon with.
Thanks for the memories Charles. You will be missed.