Could Monday be C-Wood's last in Oakland?

"I want every penny. I'm not going to keep that a secret. I feel like I go out there and play hard every down." -- Raiders CB Charles Woodson

No one will accuse Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson of using the clichéd line of "it's not about the money."

Woodson could be taking the field for his last home game in a Raiders uniform Monday night when Oakland hosts the Green Bay Packers Monday night before ending its regular season on the road Dec. 28 at San Diego. Woodson is eligible to become a free agent after the season.

"I want every penny," Woodson said. "I'm not going to keep that a secret. I feel like I go out there and play hard every down."

The Raiders could slap the "franchise player" tag on Woodson, paying him the average of the top five wage-earning cornerbacks in the league. Woodson, however, made it clear he does not want that status and wants to be the top-paid player at his position. His current salary in 2003 is $2.45 million but a top-paid corner can realistically expect around $5 million.

Woodson said he wants to remain a Raider despite his outward displeasure with head coach Bill Callahan, who also faces an uncertain future in Oakland. Woodson, however, balked at answering questions of whether or not Callahan stays will impact his desire to stay in Oakland.

The Raiders will have to pony up a lot of coin to keep Woodson but it remains to be seen if they can grant him his wish. The team faces a big salary cap problem at the end of the season, just like last year. The only difference is that Oakland may not keep its entire core group together because it is 4-10 instead of making a run at a Super Bowl appearance.

Woodson, meanwhile, has thought increasingly about the possibility of Monday being his last home game as a Raider, the team that drafted him No. 3 overall in 1998 after a Heisman Trophy winning season at Michigan.

"It seems like lately I've been think about that a lot," Woodson said. "Nothing has been done at this point. I kind of hoped something would be done. I really didn't have any expectations. I just kind of hoped it would be done so I wouldn't have to go through this. It very well could be my last home game. I still don't foresee that happening but it's a reality."

Woodson, however, added that money would not be entirely based on his decision to stay or leave Oakland.

"A lot of things are going to be looked at as far as the team is concerned," Woodson said. "It's probably going to be a much different team. … My only criteria is winning. As long as I know the team is moving forward to win then I'm with it."

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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