Sometimes timing is just too good to be a coincidence. Thursday Charles Woodson announced to the world that he was leaving ESPN where he had been a desk anchor for three years. And there is no logical reason why ESPN would have made that decision as CWood is well liked, has a great on-camera presence, and is headed to the Hall of Fame in a couple years. ESPN loves it when their current employees are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
No, CWood it seems unlikely would leave unless he had something else lined up. He ended his farewell message to ESPN with “I’ll see you next season somewhere. Stay tuned.”
My first thought was another TV gig. He was always destined for TV, which is why ESPN snatched him up with a quickness immediately following his retirement in 2015. But maybe Woodson has other plans. Maybe he wants to take a shot at coaching?
It wasn’t so long ago we saw Jon Gruden as someone who wouldn’t leave the booth. Likewise it was hard to envision Mike Mayock stepping away from being the most respected draft analyst in the world. But both ended up joining the Raiders.
When Gruden first started entertaining the idea of returning to the sideline, he said the only team he would coach for was the Raiders. He felt like he had unfinished business in Oakland after the unceremonious ending that saw him traded to Tampa for two first round picks.
Woodson was among those in attendance for Gruden’s introductory press conference in Alameda as Gruden was the head coach in Oakland when Woodson was drafted and was the starting cornerback for all four years Gruden was Raiders head coach. And they shared a network for two years. Woodson was the first player Gruden mentioned among the many greats on hand that day.
Back in 2013, Charles Woodson was 36 years old and had just been released by the Packers. He wasn’t ready to end his career, so he took a few visits. When he got to Oakland, he had a mob of excited fans ready to keep him from leaving. And he signed on, playing three more seasons, not missing a start.
For Woodson, it was also a return to the place he spent the first 8 years of his career, playing for fans who adored him, and just up the road from his winery in Napa. The Ohio native had become a California guy.
Three days ago, when the news was flying around about whether the Raiders would play in Oakland or Santa Clara next season, Woodson chimed in with his support for the team to stay in Oakland for its final season before leaving for Las Vegas in 2020. “LET’S DO IT” he said in all caps.
Even with his ardent support for Jon Gruden, the Raiders and the City of Oakland, the Raiders already had a Defensive Backs coach. Derrick Ansley, who was hired away from Alabama to join Gruden’s staff was in place.
Yeah, about that...
Friday multiple reports had Ansley taking the Co-Defensive Coordinator job at the University of Tennessee.
Could it be? ... Is it possible? ... These two job changes are related? Could Charles Woodson be joining the Raiders coaching staff? Is he even ready to handle that job? We may soon find out.