They Should Stop Giving Charles Woodson’s Number Away
I’ll preface this by saying that Charles Woodson is my favorite player ever. He is a bad motherfucker. They should waive the Hall of Fame waiting period and just put him in now.
Like many of you, I was angered when Big Ted unceremoniously decided to cut Woodson after the 2012 season. Didn’t offer to rework his contract, ask him back at a lesser rate, just, “You’re washed up! Get the hell out of town!”
I was then extremely pleased when Charles Woodson returned to the Oakland Raiders and turned in two solid seasons as a safety before retiring.
Woodson was No. 21 with the Packers. They ended up giving that number to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who, when he dreams at night, wishes he was half as good as Charles Woodson.
Keep working, Ha Ha!
Woodson was No. 24 with the Raiders on both tours with the team.
No one wore No. 24 with the Raiders in 2016, the year after Woodson retired. They’ve given it to Oakland native and new running back Marshawn Lynch for 2017, though.
Woodson noted it, as I imagine he should have, and then Lynch asked if he wanted the number back.
— Shawn Lynch (@MoneyLynch) May 29, 2017
First, Marshawn Lynch is a big deal in Oakland. It isn’t surprising that the Raiders, especially since they’re moving to Vegas, would give Lynch whatever he wants. I suspect they’ll feature him in any and all advertising they do this year.
But I’m going to make two arguments here. The second will be tougher for some of you to deal with.
- The Oakland Raiders should retire the No. 24 for Charles Woodson. Do I even need to make an argument here? He played 11 years there, made five Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 1999. Woodson had 27 picks and two returns for TD as a Raider.
- Likewise, the Green Bay Packers should rip No. 21 off Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and retire it for Charles Woodson.
Let’s forget for a second how I feel about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Luke Willson. You could have made that play. I could have made that play. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix couldn’t make that play.
Don’t forget that.
But more to the point…
The Packers have only retired six numbers — Canadeo, Hutson, Starr, Nitschke, White, Favre.
All deserved, but retiring numbers isn’t something the Packers do for everyone, even some of their greatest players. The Packers have 24 guys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — and that’s just guys who played their primary years with the Packers.
You could look at guys like Emlen Tunnell and Jan Stenerud and grow that list.
Simply because the Green Bay Packers are the Green Bay Packers means that not everyone can get their number retired, even if you’re a Hall of Famer. There are too many great players. The current players wouldn’t have enough numbers left to wear.
That said, No. 21 should be retired for Charles Woodson.
Much like No. 92 is retired for Reggie White.
Reggie White was one of the greatest defensive players ever, but he played the bulk of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. White played six years for the Packers and recorded 68.5 sacks. He racked up 124 in his eight years with the Eagles.
Why is Reggie White’s number retired?
A couple reasons.
He’s an all-time great and he changed the fortunes of the Packers.
White, who was the first big free agent signing in the NFL, made Green Bay legitimate. The Packers wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl following the 1996 season without him — White had three sacks in that game.
I’ll argue that Charles Woodson had the exact same effect.
Woodson played 11 seasons with the Raiders. He played seven in Green Bay.
In those seven seasons, Woodson had 38 picks and nine touchdown returns. He bettered his Oakland sack total — 11.5 to 8.5. Add four Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro nods.
Charles Woodson, unlike Reggie White, did his best work with the Packers. He didn’t change the narrative about Green Bay like White did, but he was key to reviving a team in a funk.
Like White, Woodson is one of the greatest defensive players of all time and the Packers wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season without him.
So give Marshawn Lynch his one or two years in Oakland with No. 24. Maybe let Ha Ha Clinton-Dix play out his run with the Packers.
And then let’s hang up No. 24 for the Raiders and No. 21 for the Packers.
It’s the right thing to do.