Raiders starting free safety Rod Woodson gets ready for his annual return trip to Pittsburgh Sunday, only this time it was less expected than the previous four trips.
Woodson, who played for the Steelers from 1987-1996, made for Baltimore from 1998-2001. Baltimore is a division opponent of Pittsburgh and the two teams play each other twice per season. Oakland signed Woodson, who Baltimore released as part of a salary cap purge, during the offseason as a free agent.
"I'm a Pittsburgher but I'm not a Steeler," said Woodson, who still has a home in Pittsburgh. "I don't get too much excited against any other team. It's been too long."
Woodson, who played cornerback until 1997, played for one year in San Francisco before going to Baltimore as a free agent. Woodson had a subpar season with the 49ers as a cornerback but enjoyed a rival when the Ravens moved him to free safety. Woodson helped Baltimore's record-setting defense win the Super Bowl in 2000.
"Well, Rod Woodson, you don't ever set any parameters on him, you don't try and measure him to anybody else." said Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who enters his 11th season in Pittsburgh. "He's a very unique athlete, he's a very unique football player. He is the consummate pro. Of all the guys I've had since I've been here, he's the one guy the way he approached the game, the way he still approaches the game, he's scary when he's on the other team. He studies tendencies, he knows his limitations, he's got a great feel for the game, he's a great leader. He's a Hall of Famer, a no-brainer. It's timeless. The only good thing about having him out of this division is we only got to play him once this year."