December 25, 2015 / 6:49 AM / 2 years ago

Woodson walks out a winner in final home game of his career

(Reuters) - Charles Woodson received his final send-off from the Oakland crowd at the last home game of his career on Thursday night and celebrated the occasion with a Raiders’ win.

Dec 24, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) reacts after playing his final home game during an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers at Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 23-20 in overtime. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Woodson, 39, announced earlier this week that he will be retiring following this season and his final game at Coliseum was a chance to express mutual appreciation.

On a night that saw the stadium packed with congratulatory signs for Woodson, the Raiders did their part by defeating San Diego 23-20 in overtime.

Woodson received a Gatorade shower following the game and addressed his audience with a microphone at mid-field one last time.

“It was a magical night. Great to be a part of it,” Woodson told reporters. “It’s been an unbelievable ride. If I was writing a script on how (my career would go) I don’t think I could’ve written it better.”

Woodson’s script has included 18 years, a Defensive Player of the Year award and a Super Bowl title among a litany of other distinctions.

One of the best defenders ever to play the game, Woodson got the rare opportunity to play offense on Thursday, something he experienced as a two-way standout college player at Michigan.

With the game tied 20-20 in overtime, Oakland ran a reverse pass play that gave Woodson the ball and the opportunity to pass but the throw was not open and Woodson had to scramble and ultimately lost three yards.

It was the first rushing play of his NFL career.

“I can’t end my career with negative three yards,” Woodson joked.

Woodson’s ending may coincide with the conclusion of the Raiders in Oakland as the franchise could relocate to Los Angeles next season.

NFL owners will meet Jan. 12-13 and could make a decision on the team’s future then.

As for Woodson, his NFL future has been determined and he is comfortable with the final chapter. “It was time,” Woodson said, of retirement. “I want people to know that I left it all on the field.”

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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