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Former Raiders, Packers great Charles Woodson joins ESPN as NFL analyst

ESPN announced today that Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson is joining the company as a NFL analyst.

The 18-year veteran who played for the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers retired from the NFL just last month. In July, he will begin work at ESPN, appearing primarily on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.

Woodson spoke with Front Row about his new career and post-football life.

The most exciting part about working with ESPN is that I feel like I’m still somewhat in the arena. Although I am not playing, I still get to be around and talk about the game I’ve played for so long.
– Charles Woodson

What are you looking forward to most about this new opportunity with ESPN?
The most exciting part about working with ESPN is that I feel like I’m still somewhat in the arena. Although I am not playing, I still get to be around and talk about the game I’ve played for so long.

You have many former teammates and friends who work at ESPN. Have any of them given you advice about broadcasting?
Not yet. It’s still very early in this process so I’m quite sure those I know in the industry will help me along the way.

Is there a current broadcaster whose style you particularly admire?
I pay attention to all of the broadcasters and each of them has their own unique style. That’s what makes ESPN’s Countdown shows great because you are able to be who you are. That’s what I admire most.

This fall, how will you feel on Sunday or Monday night, now being in studio before a big game?
My time in the NFL has passed so I am going to feel right at home putting on a suit instead of pads. To be quite honest, there is something therapeutic about the thought of not having to put a helmet on any more to make a living.

What are some things you plan to do beyond broadcasting in this new chapter of your life?
My foundation, the Charles Woodson Foundation, supports C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and also two scholarships to the University of Michigan. My wine company, Charles Woodson Wines, started in 2005. My efforts in both of these endeavors will continue as long as I breathe. Beyond that, only time will tell.

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