Still no Woodson

The Oakland Raiders might have mentally prepared themselves for cornerback Charles Woodson not being in camp but it doesn't change the fact that head coach Norv Turner preferred that he were present.

Much to his dislike, the Oakland Raiders made Woodson their franchise player. Woodson has insisted on a long-term contract and signing bonus approaching $20 million and has refused to sign the one-year tender, which in Woodson's case is a healthy $8.8 million. That scenario means that Woodson is a continued training camp no-show, which Oakland anticipated.

Woodson is one of six players around the league whose fate is connected with the "franchise tag," which prevents free agents from negotiating with other teams. With no long-term contract agreement in sight, Woodson still hasn't signed a one-year tender that will pay him $8,782,400, the average salary of the top five cornerbacks in the NFL.

Turner talked to Woodson just before the Raiders arrived for training camp in Napa but has not spoken to him since that time.

"I think there's times you think about it but I really, as I said a week ago, think that based on my history with the Raiders and watching the Raiders from the outside and talking to everybody, I have confidence it's going to get done," Turner said.

In the meantime, second-year man Nnamdi Asomugha and free agent pickup Denard Walker continue to be the beneficiaries of Woodson's holdout status.

"The biggest thing is that those guys are getting a lot of reps," Turner said. "We know what we want to do with Charles. He's a great football player obviously. I'm glad I'm on the same team he is on. We want to get him in here but the system is going in and the guys are working."

As for the question of Woodson's holdout being a distraction, defensive tackle Warren Sapp said, "I just work here."

The argument continues to be this: If the Raiders commit to Woodson, will he reciprocate? Not an easy question to answer.

In one respect, the Raiders should do whatever it takes to keep Woodson. All you have to do is watch receivers run by Phillip Buchanon and Terrance Shaw.

There's nothing wrong with Woodson's effort in games. He enjoys the challenge of going against the elite receivers. Woodson makes no excuses if such a player gets the better of him, which is refreshing.

While Woodson is very good on the field, some people believe that the seventh-year veteran could truly be great if his Monday-Saturday work ethic matched his Sunday effort.

The bottom line is that if the Raiders are going to offer an eight-figure dollar amount of up front money, they should expect nothing but his best. Period. No excuses. Especially since Woodson openly command he wants top dollar.

Woodson was slowed for much of the 2001 and 2002 season because of turf toe and leg injuries. He was healthy last season and played more like his old self but that did not stop the questions.

Woodson was the same guy who publicly feuded with since fired head coach Bill Callahan. On the eve of the regular season finale, Woodson and running back Charlie Garner blew team curfew and Callahan followed by suspending both players.

Granted, there's nothing unlawful about that action but it was a troubling circumstance nonetheless, no matter if Woodson admitted he was wrong.

He also has a reputation of dozing off in film sessions. Again, it doesn't seem like an enormous offense but one that can prevent a player from truly being great.

Would he be better or worse if the Raiders doled out a much of coin for him? Well, it could bring out the best in him or make him say, "Well, what are they going to do cut me?"

The question continues, are they better off with or without Woodson?

Great talent but if he wants to hold them hostage to a seven-figure deal without promising his best all the time maybe there are better off without him.


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