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Raiders great Charles Woodson knows Oakland fans will be hurting Sunday

Jerry McDonald, East Bay Times on

Published in Football

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Charles Woodson always did have his finger on the pulse of the Raiders' local fan base.

That's why they turned out in startling numbers at the club facility in May of 2013, an organic, social-media driven flash mob that helped convince him to sign with the Raiders after seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Woodson was back at the practice facility Thursday in a media capacity, filming interviews with Raiders players for the NFL Films show "The Grind." He said he'll be at the Coliseum Sunday when the Raiders host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the last game at the Coliseum.

"It's going to be emotional," Woodson said. "When you think about when Oakland left the last time for L.A., I think people probably suspected there was a chance they might come back at some point in time. You never know, but there's a chance.

"This time there's a finality to it. They've got a new stadium in Vegas. They're going to be in Vegas. They're not coming back to Oakland ... I think a lot of people are going to have their hearts ripped out for a second time, but this time they're not coming back."

The Raiders have announced no plans to recognize the last game at the Coliseum, but Woodson felt it was important to be there and expects other alumni will be there as well.

 

"I think for any of the guys that played here, if you had an opportunity to be back here for this game and just basically show your face and just show the fans that you were invested in it too," Woodson said.

Woodson said every fan base is unique to its own team but that Oakland's relationship with the Raiders is different.

"When you're out, wherever you're at, it just drives a little deeper," Woodson said. "The Raiders fans certainly love their team and it's going to be a hard day for a lot of fans in the Bay Area that go to the Coliseum. It was always fun to run out there on Sundays. Standing in front of the Black Hole, having the fans beat on the sides of the stadium, the amount of anticipation and energy before you ran out and played was second to none. That's something that's going to be missed."

Woodson, 43, has been thinking back to his arrival in 1998 as the No. 4 overall draft pick out of Michigan and winner of the Heisman Trophy.

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