Pro Bowls don't have a lot of buzz around them usually. This year's game has been mostly about Charles Woodson's farewell game. The 18-year veteran announced near the end of the season that this would be his final NFL season.
He made the announcement just prior to his final home game in Oakland which was followed by his final NFL regular season game (in Kansas City) and Sunday his final time stepping on the field as an NFL player in the 2016 Pro Bowl.
Woodson played quite a bit in this game on defense. He got in the game for one offensive play, just as he did in his final home game in Oakland. This time he lined up out wide left and Derek Carr opted for a short pass over the middle.
After that play, Jon Gruden, the man who was his head coach in 1998 when the Raiders selected Woodson with the fourth overall pick, asked Woodson why he decided now was the time to call it quits.
"To be honest with you I'm just tired," Woodson responded. "That's really all I can say. I've done all I can do out there, I gave it my all. And there comes a point in time when you've got to give it up."
Woodson has said several times that he wanted his legacy to be that he left it all on the field. No one questions that as the 39-year-old played longer than most anyone expected he would. Certainly longer and at a higher level than most players who have ever played the game.
Prior to his long NFL career, Woodson was the Heisman Trophy winner for the National Champion Michigan Wolverines. Prior to that he was Ohio's Mr Football.
Being a star player at every level for so long can make stepping away a shock to the system. And when you have had the longevity Woodson has had, you know he loves the process and the entire experience of putting on a uniform and taking the field on game day.
"I'm gonna miss being on the sideline," Woodson continued. "I'm gonna miss running out there before the game and being able to run out of the tunnel and hear the fans scream your name and scream whatever team you're on. I'm gonna miss that and listening to the National Anthem. I'm gonna miss all that."
As much as Woodson will miss the game and the fans, the feeling will be entirely mutual.