ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Charles Woodson pushed back a visit to Oakland to pursue a reunion with the Raiders because extending his career in the NFL isn’t his only mission.
The 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year would’ve traveled to the Bay Area from Denver after meeting with the Broncos on Wednesday, but he had charity obligations this weekend to support Mott Children’s Hospital.
“It’s important for me to be here even though I’m looking for a job,” Woodson said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.
The eight-time Pro Bowl player said he’s scheduled to meet with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and members of the coaching staff on Tuesday.
“We’ll see if things fit,” he said at The M-Den before being the part of a WTKA radiothon that raised more than $90,000 for The Charles Woodson Clinical Research Fund.
Woodson’s agent, Carl Poston, told The AP earlier in the day that the 36-year-old defensive back had also drawn interest from the New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and other teams he declined to identify.
The Green Bay Packers cut Woodson in a salary-cap move three months ago. He went on to visit with the San Francisco 49ers and Broncos and left both times without agreeing to a deal.
“I thought I would have been signed by now,” Woodson acknowledged. “You do have to be patient, but there is some frustration even though I am not the first nor will I be the last guy to go through this.”
“I feel confident I’ll be playing somewhere next season. I’m feeling great, and I’m ready to roll.”
Woodson spent his first eight seasons in Oakland after leading Michigan to the 1997 national championship. He developed a relationship with and a passion for the patients at Mott Children’s Hospital while he and the Wolverines made visits.
He later joined former college teammates Brian Griese and Steve Hutchinson to raise more than $5 million over the previous six years for the hospital during the Champions for Children’s Hearts Celebrity Weekend, which includes a gala dinner Saturday night and a golf outing on Sunday.
Woodson committed to make a $2 million donation in 2009 to support a pediatric research in his name.
The fund has spent $350,000 this year, according to Dr. Dr. Valerie Castle, to support two surgeons and two cardiologists trying to find ways to keep donated hearts alive for more than three days to improve the success rate of transplants.
Woodson said he is amazed at what the fund has accomplished.
“It’s great to be in a position to help people do what they do best, which is to help humanity,” said Woodson, who has 4- and 2-year-old boys. “Having two healthy boys, running around and enjoying life, it makes you want to do whatever you can to improve somebody else’s situation.”