Woodson To Play Both Ways?


Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson, who has pleaded with coach Jon Gruden since last season to let him also play on offense, believes he'll finally get his chance this weekend against the San Diego Chargers.

Woodson, who made cameo appearances at wide receiver for Michigan while becoming the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997, has been working out in recent days with the Raiders' offensive unit as a receiver.

Gruden twice flirted with the idea last season, when Woodson also did some practicing with the offense, but never tried using the 1998 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as a two-way player.

But the Raiders are coming off a bye, which has given Woodson more time to learn and practice offensive plays. And Oakland struggled on offense in its last game, a 16-9 loss to Miami in which the Raiders gained a season-low 187 yards.

Woodson met with Gruden last Monday, the day after that loss to the Dolphins, and came away with the impression this time would be different.

"I was told I was going to play offense a couple of times before and it didn't happen, but this time I think it's the real deal," Woodson said Wednesday. "I'll do anything to win. We're 4-4 and we still have a chance to make something positive out of this season."

Against the Dolphins, the Raiders were held without a touchdown. Rich Gannon, nursing a broken left wrist, was 7-for-28 for 130 yards and Tim Brown was the only Oakland receiver to catch more than one pass.

Gannon said Wednesday that his wrist is fine and he was not looking to Woodson to provide the spark his offense has been lacking.

"I don't even know if he's going to step on the field (on offense)," Gannon said. "He's a very talented guy, but we feel we have the best chance of winning with the guys we have there."

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