Woodson signed a one-year tender for $8.782 million on Tuesday,
joining the team for the first time after a 33-day holdout.
"I think everybody is just ready for me to get in here, and get
into the thick of things and get ready to play football," he said.
"The players, they understand my side. The coaches, all of them
have been through it before with other players so this is nothing
new to anybody. I'm not the first to do this and I certainly won't
be the last. I think right now everybody is just ready for me to
get out there and play ball."
Woodson is the team's exclusive franchise player, a designation that caused his tender to increase from $7.4 million this spring. Exclusive franchise players can't negotiate with other teams. That designation increases the tender depending on the signings of other players at his position.
The Raiders and Woodson's agent, Carl Poston, will try to work on a long-term deal now that Woodson is camp. Poston told ESPN.com's John Clayton that he thought both sides made progress on a long-term deal back in March.
Woodson wanted a long-term deal and hoped the leverage of a
holdout would force the Raiders to negotiate with him. But before
he could talk about another deal or come to camp, he had to sign
the tender offer.
The Raiders placed the franchise tag on Woodson in February. The
27-year-old Woodson, who's entering his seventh pro season,
reportedly wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't about the money," Woodson
said. "What player doesn't want to make a boat load of money? I'm
one of those players. It didn't get done. I'm still going to make
great money by any measure this year. We'll see what happens."
Woodson, who also missed all the offseason minicamps,
participated in practice and meetings as he tries to catch up with
"He says he's doing a lot of running," coach Norv Turner said.
"That's the endurance part of it. Obviously when you start
covering people, change of direction and all that, it's totally
different. But he looked really good. He's awful quick. He uses his
hands extremely well. He looked real good."
Woodson reported to camp with no guarantee that the Raiders
would negotiate a longterm deal and could face the same predicament
"We did everything we could do," Woodson said. "We wanted an
assurance before I came in here that they were going to do a
longterm deal, so as you can see, the tender wasn't signed and we
couldn't do a deal. Now I'm here. I signed the tender. And I'm not
worrying about the longterm or anything like that right now."
Turner said that Woodson wouldn't play in Thursday's exhibition
finale against St. Louis. Woodson, however, expects to be in the
starting lineup when the team opens the season Sept 12 at
"That's my plan," he said. "I don't want to be around and not
be playing or starting. So I'm going to do everything I can to get
myself ready so ... when we play Pittsburgh, I'll be the starter."
Woodson had been working out twice a day in Houston, so the
Raiders aren't as concerned about his fitness level as they are
about his ability to play catch-up in new defensive coordinator Rob
Ryan's 3-4 scheme.
"Had we had the same coaching staff as last year it wouldn't
even be an issue. But I do have to learn the defense -- a lot of new
terminology, different things like that that I have to get used
to," he said. "So once I get that down and get out here and do
football-type activities, I'll be all right."
Turner said the coaches would do whatever they could to get
Woodson ready for the opener but that the cornerback might be
limited to a role as a nickel back.
"It's based really on how he handles in everything," Turner
said. "If he zeros in on our nickel package and he knows exactly
what to do on that and we zero in on what we have to do against
Pittsburgh he could make a great contribution in that game."
Information from senior ESPN.com NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.