Raiders Coach Expects Woodson in Camp Soon
By Janie McCauley
Aug 26, 2004

NAPA, CA (AP) - Charles Woodson confirmed Wednesday night he would end his holdout and be in camp with the Oakland Raiders next week.

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

The Raiders placed the franchise tag on Woodson in February. With the franchise designation, he would make close to $8.8 million this season, but Woodson hasn't signed the Raiders' tender - which he must do before negotiating a new deal.

Woodson, who's entering his seventh pro season, is seeking a big-money, long-term contract and reportedly wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.

Earlier Wednesday, Raiders coach Norv Turner said 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."

A call to Woodson's agent, Carl Poston, wasn't returned Wednesday.

But Poston, in a rare interview, told the Contra Costa Times on Tuesday that Woodson would report next week and is anxious to get started.

He has missed 28 days of training camp and both exhibition games, but has been working out twice a day in Houston.

Raiders senior personnel executive Michael Lombardi said 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.

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