Nearly three months after being released by the Green Bay Packers, free agent defensive back Charles Woodson is still looking for a team to sign with, but he’s not ready to give up yet.
One team that it sounds like is a complete non-option for Woodson, though, is a return to the Packers next season.
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“I have not heard anything from Green Bay,” Woodson said Thursday night on NFL Network. “We parted our ways a couple months ago. They told me they were moving on. I guess I took that to mean there was no opportunity to go back so I am looking for a future with another organization.”
Woodson had been with the Packers since 2006 when he signed a seven-year, $52 million deal. In his seven seasons in Green Bay, Woodson added four more Pro Bowls to his resume (bringing his total to eight) and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
But with Woodson now 36 years old and the Packers looking to get younger, the split between the two sides appears permanent.
“If it were left up to me, I will be in the NFL again this coming season,” Woodson added during his appearance on NFL Network. “Right now, it is kind of slow out there, the options have dried up, but I am still waiting for an opportunity to play for a team, help a team win.
“So I plan on playing in the future.”
The San Francisco 49ers showed some interest in Woodson early in the offseason, but that no longer seems like a landing spot for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Woodson was initially just looking to sign with contending teams (such as the 49ers), but he’s since been forced to expand the list of teams he’d consider.
“I know I am towards the end of my career,” Woodson said. “At this point, I want to play football. So if it is a rebuilding stage, at this point, if that is the circumstances I have to play under, then that is what I am going to do.”
Woodson’s situation isn’t unlike what many veteran free agents go through every offseason, sitting around and experiencing a surprising lack of opportunities to continue playing.
“It is kind of the process, but at the same time, it is frustrating,” Woodson said. “You have guys that can flat out play football. You look at Dwight Freeney and what he is able to do. They had a system last year that is different than he is used to playing, but he can play football. John Abraham, he led his team in sacks and you say ‘we don’t have a spot for you on our roster?’ I can’t understand that.
“Myself, I am just a ball player. I need to be on a team.”
While Woodson’s future isn’t in Green Bay, he has kept an eye on what his former team has been up to since his departure.
“The key for them is will [Bryan] Bulaga – who I think they’re switching to left tackle – will he be able to make that transition to left tackle?” Woodson said. “Aaron (Rodgers) needs that help upfront to help him stay upright. He took a lot of sacks last year.”
Rodgers was sacked 51 times last season, more than any quarterback in the NFL.
One aspect that could help take pressure off Rodgers and keep opposing defenses guessing is the addition of rookie running backs Eddie Lacy (second round) and Johnathan Franklin (fourth round).
“I wish they would have done this a couple years ago, bring in a couple of dominant running backs like they did with Lacy and Franklin,” Woodson said. “Those guys are going to take a load of pressure off [Rodgers’] back and allow him to do what he does.”
Despite remaining unsigned, Woodson was ranked as the 85th-best player of 2013 in the NFL Network’s Top 100 countdown.