NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Charles Woodson took a break from overseeing his winery in the Napa Valley to visit the Oakland Raiders training camp Thursday. Peyton Manning was there, too, while in the midst of a speaking tour.
The two future Hall-of-Famers were all over the place, chatting with players and coaches and going over techniques as the Raiders went through their 2 1/2-hour workout.
Now retired and an analyst for ESPN, the 41-year-old Woodson was a little startled when he walked onto the practice field and heard music blaring from a far corner.
“I don’t remember that ever happening,” Woodson said, grinning. “I was just telling somebody, everybody’s talking about Gruden’s been out of the game, he’s out of touch. Actually he’s not. He’s got a DJ. I think he’s fitting right in.”
“I remember coming in seeing a young fiery Jon Gruden and he seems to have that same thing going on,” Woodson said. “It’s going to be great for the players to have a guy with that kind of energy back on the sidelines. I think it’s going to be a fun year. It’s going to be a process, of course. You have to get guys to buy into what you’re selling. If they do that they’ll be fine.”
One player not in camp is defensive end Khalil Mack, who is holding out in a contract dispute.
Woodson said he has spoken with Mack and encouraged the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year to stay in shape while negotiations continue.
“He’s a young guy that’s trying to get paid and I don’t fault any man for that,” Woodson said. “Now, every team’s going to have their limits of what they feel they can do and what they won’t do. You have to navigate that. He’s a smart enough guy, he’ll figure it out.
“I just told him, ‘Whenever you come back. I don’t know what happens with your deal, if you get a new deal or if you’re playing on the same deal, when you come back come back ready.’ You don’t want anybody saying anything crazy about your conditioning and all of this sort of thing.”
Manning attended camp while in the Bay Area for a speaking engagement in San Francisco. He phoned Gruden to ask if he could come out to practice then spent the afternoon chatting with Derek Carr and quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan.
Gruden put both men to work.
Manning specifically spoke at length with Carr, Oakland’s veteran quarterback who is learning his third system in four years.
“I really like Derek,” Manning said. “He is very engaged and obviously trying to learn a new system, which is a challenge. But one thing about Jon Gruden is he loves football so everybody playing for him better love it too. When your QB loves it, and you can tell Carr does, it shows.”
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