ALAMEDA (AP) — Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson could easily fill a wine cellar with all the awards he’s won since he first started playing football nearly 30 years ago.
The Heisman Trophy he captured in 1997 as a two-way star at Michigan sits in his mother’s house, a gift to the woman who raised him and helped mold his love for the sport.
Woodson has kept numerous other plaques and trophies for himself, including the national championship ring he won with the Wolverines in ‘97, along with the more coveted Super Bowl ring he won in 2010 with Green Bay.
“I’ve gotten a lot of them but those are the ones that stick out,” Woodson said. “Mom’s got the Heisman. I’ve got the rings.”
Woodson added to his collection Thursday when he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October.
It’s the fifth time in his remarkable 18-year career that Woodson has been named defensive player of the month, tying him for second-most in NFL history behind six-time winner and Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith.
Not too bad for a player who celebrated his 39th birthday earlier this month.
“It makes it special because . statements are made that ‘he’s the oldest to do this’ or ‘only two or three guys to have done things,’” Woodson said. “To have that type of longevity and to be playing and the level that I’m playing with in the NFL is awesome.
“It just says that there’s a reason why I’m still here. I’m able to go out there and do my job and do it well.”
Woodson is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions. He made three of them in October, including two off Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
In doing so, Woodson became the oldest player in league history to make two interceptions in one game.
“I wasn’t with him when he first started but he can’t be more serious than he is now,” Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. “He’s an example to all the young players who have a lot less wrong with them, who don’t play as hard, who don’t get as much done. He’s a type of guy that gives everything that he has.
“No question he’s going down in history as one of the best. He is absolutely amazing.”
The Raiders might be completely lost in the secondary if it wasn’t for Woodson.
Oakland owns the NFL’s worst-ranked pass defense and has been without starting safety Nate Allen since Week 1. One of the starting cornerbacks, David Amerson, was cut by the Washington Redskins earlier this season.
Woodson himself has been playing with a shoulder he dislocated late in the fourth quarter of the Raiders’ season-opening loss to Cincinnati.
“I’m a little sore,” Woodson said. “I feel like, just get me to Sunday. If you get me to Sunday I’ll be all right.”
Woodson’s health will be a determining factor in whether he decides to come back for a 19th season in 2016 or if he retires.
There are arguments to be made for both — Woodson clearly still has the ability to make plays in the NFL but he also has two young children and a winery he’d like to become more active with.
For his part, Woodson said he hasn’t given much thought to 2016. His current concern is trying to help the improving Raiders end their 12-year playoff drought. That and possibly getting onto the field with the Raiders offense, something he’s done sporadically throughout his career.
“Just you wait,” Woodson said with a big smile. “May have a surprise for you.”
Notes: DE Denico Autry made it through a second straight day of practice without setback. Autry has been bothered by concussion symptoms for the past three weeks. . LB Neiron Ball (knee) did not practice.