There's a saying that goes 'It's hard to keep a good man down'. For Charles Woodson it seems just about impossible. He dislocated his right shoulder in the Raiders' season opener against the Bengals and a week later against the Ravens, not only did he start, but he played 81 of 82 defensive snaps, which is the second most snaps by any Raiders' defender. That's just... amazing.
We're talking about a soon-to-be 39-year-old veteran in his 18th NFL season. When staring down the barrel of one's 40s, no one is supposed to be able to bounce back like.
Woodson missed practice last Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday. During pregame Sunday, he was clearly not right. he was favoring that right shoulder and wasn't fully extending it, though when he was the final player to be announced, he still made the effort to throw up an "O" to the crowd.
The man who had started every game at safety the past two seasons for the Raiders wasn't missing a start. But it seemed logical the team would sub out for him. But I guess by now we should just be throwing logic out the with regard to Woodson.
"How about Charles Woodson?" Jack Del Rio said with pride. "How about Charles finding a way to make it out here today? With the shoulder and him being questionable all week and very limited all week. That's what makes this game so special. It's a team effort, that's what it takes, and we had a full team effort today."
Del Rio wanted his veteran safety to play in this game, even if he wasn't 100%. Del Rio spoke of how he has seen players play with shoulder injuries like this before.
In the game itself, Woodson was clearly not himself. He missed several tackles he would make 9 out of 10 times, and the defense suffered a bit because of it. One of those missed tackles resulted in a 38-yard gain by tight end Crockett Gillmore that led to a game tying touchdown. But with Nate Allen on partial season injured reserve, the alternate to a limited Woodson may have been worse.
It was important to Del Rio and for Woodson that he play in this game. From a leadership standpoint if nothing else. And the mere fact that from the moment he was taken off the field with a dislocated shoulder, he was campaigning to play this week, speaks volumes of his leadership and toughness. Especially after the loss they suffered last week.
Losses have a tendency to make injuries hurt just a bit more. By the same token, a win can cure what ails you.
"It's always better after a win," Woodson said after Raiders 37-33 win over the Ravens. "Injuries aren't as bad, you're not as tired after the game. Everything's better. . . If you come out with a W, it's all good."