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Charles Woodson's last game in Oakland could also be Raiders last

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Monday Charles Woodson announced he will be retiring after this season, making Thursday's game against the Chargers his last time in front of the home crowd in Oakland. It will undoubtedly be a tearful farewell to a true Hall of Fame bound player. He might not be the only one of whom these fans will be bidding farewell.

As of today, we are exactly three weeks away from the NFL owners' vote for Los Angeles relocation. That vote will be whether to approve the Rams Inglewood project or the Raiders and Chargers joint project in Carson. Or perhaps neither. Either project would need 24 of 32 owners on board to approve it.

Depending on how the vote is cast, it could be that when the Raiders take the field for their final home game of 2015, they and the fans will be meeting at O.co in Oakland for the last time.

It is a reality Charles Woodson faces even though he won't be returning, regardless of what the franchise decides to do. But he also feels for the fans in Oakland who support this team.

"For me, it's going to be sad just for myself," said Woodson. "It will be sad for the fans. They love this team. They love the Raiders. They identify with the Oakland Raiders. It's happened to them before. It would be tough to actually have that happen a second time around. Yeah, definitely."

There are many fans in Oakland who remember full well when the team up and left them in the early 80s for Los Angeles. Some either remained fans or became fans again when the team returned in 1995 - just three years before Charles Woodson was drafted by the Raiders.

Woodson himself started his winery in Napa - just an hour north of Oakland - shortly after being drafted by the Raiders. His ties to Twenty Four Wines undoubtedly played a factor in his return to Oakland three seasons ago. For the same reason, Woodson would not be quite as keen on leaving for Los Angeles, so the timing of his retirement works out in that regard - though not the primary factor.

There is still room for hope that the Raiders could find a way to stay in Oakland, though optimism is in short supply. There has been virtually nothing coming out of Oakland in the way of a viable plan to keep the team.

What we have then is the bittersweet moment of Charles Woodson's final game in Oakland acting as a worthy distraction. Think of it as the cool glass of water to help wash down the bitter pill fans in Oakland are facing with the possibility of this being their beloved franchise's final stop there before heading off to LALA land.