Pro Bowl CB still wants long-term deal

Updated: August 26, 2004, 2:36 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NAPA, Calif. -- Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson has agreed to end his holdout and, according to his agent, will report to camp in the next day or two, ESPN's John Clayton reported Wednesday night.

Charles Woodson
Cornerback
Oakland Raiders
Profile
2003 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
70 56 14 1 1 3

As the Raiders' "franchise" player, Woodson will sign a one-year, $8.782 million tender -- which he must do before negotiating a new deal. He already has missed four weeks of camp and two preseason games.

The four-time Pro Bowl cornerback confirmed his intentions in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Woodson's agent, Carl Poston, had informed the Contra Costa Times that Woodson would join his teammates next week.

"The longer it takes, the more it's eating at him," Poston told the paper. "He's in great shape. He's doing two-a-days that are well beyond what [his teammates] are doing in their two-a-days." Raiders coach Norv Turner said earlier Wednesday that he expected Woodson to be in camp next week.

Turner said that Woodson needs to be in practice "as soon as he can" to be ready for the season. Turner said he doubted Woodson would be prepared for the season opener Sept. 12 at Pittsburgh if he waited until after the final preseason game Sept. 2 to join the team.

Even if he reports Monday, it's unclear whether Woodson would play in the Raiders' final exhibition game next Thursday at home against St. Louis.

"I'd hate to answer that either way," Turner said Wednesday, when the Raiders broke camp in Napa and returned to their regular practice facility in Alameda. "We'd have to see where he's at."

Woodson, tagged in February as Oakland's franchise player, has been unhappy with his current contract status and reportedly is seeking a long-term deal that would make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. He had been hesitant to sign the team's one-year tender, but didn't really look to have many other options.

"When Charles gets here, we'll proceed to work on a long-term contract," Raiders personnel executive Mike Lombardi told the Contra Costa Times on Tuesday.

Poston had told the paper that Woodson would sign the one-year tender provided the Raiders show good faith in working out a long-term deal.

"I need an assurance, and Charles needs an assurance that the Raiders are going to work diligently on putting together a long-term deal," Poston said. "I have a hard time believing in their diligence when they haven't done anything for three years."

Oakland is switching from its traditional 4-3 defense to a 3-4 look under first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and Woodson has yet to be exposed to it. He did not take part in any of the team's offseason workouts or minicamps and has remained at his home in Houston where he was reportedly working out with a private trainer.

He has missed 28 days of training camp and two preseason games.

Lombardi said Wednesday he hadn't been told by Poston that Woodson would be in camp.

"I can't really say what's going to happen next week," Lombardi said. "It's all hypothetical. The way the system is, it's up to him. It's not up to us."

All-Pro linebacker Julian Peterson of San Francisco, another holdout franchise player, signed Wednesday with the 49ers. Peterson is represented by Poston's brother, Kevin.

It could take Woodson some time to get up to speed on defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's new 3-4 scheme.

"Playbooks are issued to players once they're here," Lombardi said.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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