Charles Woodson

Tom Brady awkwardly avoids Charles Woodson's 'Tuck Rule' game question

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AP

Tom Brady awkwardly avoids Charles Woodson's 'Tuck Rule' game question

You have to give it to Charles Woodson, he had to ask.

The Raiders legend recently sat down with his former Michigan teammate and current New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for a wide-ranging interview on EPIX's show "The Grind."

Woodson and Brady lockered a few stalls away from each other during their time in Ann Arbor, but their most famous meeting came not when donning the Maize and Blue, but during the 2001 AFC Divisional Round game when Woodson's Raiders traveled to Foxboro to play Brady and the Patriots.

With the Patriots trailing 13-10 with under two minutes to go, Brady dropped back to pass and was hit on his right side by Woodson. Brady fumbled the ball and the Raiders recovered, appearing to seal the Patriots' fate. But the officials reviewed the play, and based on a rule that had been instituted in 1990, deemed that Brady had started the forward pass motion, and had not completely tucked the ball away, making it an incomplete pass. 

The Patriots maintained possession and Brady drove them into field-goal range for the game-tying kick. The Patriots won in overtime and went on to win the first of six Super Bowls. 

So, it was only natural that Woodson's first question to Brady was about whether or not it was a fumble.

Had to do it.

The "Tuck Rule" was abolished in 2013.

That 2001 Divisional Round game also was the final one for Raiders head coach Jon Gruden's first stint with the Silver and Black. When Gruden returned to Oakland in January of 2018, Gruden showed he still hadn't let the Tuck Rule go.

"Brady fumbled that football," Gruden said with a smile.

[RELATED: Report: Raiders have made 'substantive inquiries' on Jalen Ramsey]

Whether he did or didn't, Brady never will say.

Why Charles Woodson believes Antonio Brown's absence hinders Raiders

Why Charles Woodson believes Antonio Brown's absence hinders Raiders

NAPA – Antonio Brown has missed 10 of 11 Raiders training camp practices now, with no formal timetable to return.

His absence likely won’t be a huge deal once his foot issues heal and he starts producing in the regular season, but frustration levels are rising slightly after he wasn’t around for this week’s joint practices against the L.A. Rams.

He has been away from the team seeing specialists recently, therefore missing meetings in addition to practices.

Brown’s an incredibly hard worker, a detail-oriented route runner and someone who has already built chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr, which should ease his transition back to full activity. Raiders legend Charles Woodson understood those points, but also explained how Brown missing all these sessions can hinder offensive progress.

“When he is slotted to do all these different things for you and he’s not here to learn the offense,” Woodson said Thursday. “You have to learn the offense and the verbiage, and when to convert a route into something else and different looks you’re going to get and timing with Derek.

“That’s important, because he’s going to be a huge part of this offense. Right now, you have to plug people into the position he’s going to be in, so it doesn’t quite look the way it will when he’s out there. At some point, it would be great to have him out here and help this team get to the next level.”

Woodson watched practice in person Thursday, and came away with positive impressions.

“I see a lot more team speed, especially on the offensive side of the ball and in the receiver corps,” Woodson said. “It’d be great to have No. 84 out here, so he can bring that element to the game. You see some guys who love the game and want to come out here and give everything they’ve got. That’s what it’s all about.”

[RELATED: Charles Woodson gives advice to Raiders rookie safety Johnathan Abram]

Woodson also believes Carr’s in for a big season, and explains why: “I don’t think there’s any question, man. He has had a year under his belt with Gruden. He knows how Gruden is, what Gruden expects and how hard Gruden coaches. He has taken all the criticism. He has gotten a lot of that over the years and he has had injuries. He’s a weathered guy already in his career. That either makes you better, or you get worse. You can’t stay the same. What I think he has gone through will help him get better."

“And he has weapons around him. That [stuff] doesn’t hurt. I think he’s going to be fine.”

Charles Woodson gives advice to Raiders rookie safety Johnathan Abram

Charles Woodson gives advice to Raiders rookie safety Johnathan Abram

NAPA – Charles Woodson can relate to Johnathan Abram.

The surefire Pro Football Hall of Famer played Abram’s position. He rocked the prestigious Raiders No. 24 and always walked with plenty of swagger.

Woodson spoke to the Raiders first-round draft pick briefly after Thursday’s joint practice between the Raiders and Rams and delivered an important message.

Don’t tone it down.

Abram was the breakout star of Tuesday’s “Hard Knocks,” season premiere, showing a willingness to talk trash, have fun even with superiors and hit really, really hard even when he’s not supposed to.

Fans formulate opinions fast based on what NFL Films let them see, and views of Abram through the “Hard Knocks” lens have been somewhat polarizing. A vocal minority dislikes his brash, fun-loving persona. He comes across as genuine in person and shows great drive and passion for football.

The Raiders love that. Woodson does, too, and told Abram not to be saying by critics.

"I said, ‘That edge you have, don’t lose it,’” Woodson said. “There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions of him right now. Don’t lose that edge, man, because if you start doing what other people want you to do, you won’t be who you’re supposed to be.”

Woodson didn’t want to compare Abram to anybody else, but says there’s plenty to like about the Mississippi State product.

“I like the confidence. I do,” Woodson said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be about what he does between the lines. You can talk, but if you back it up, nobody’s going to have a problem with that. If you’re out there making plays, you can say whatever you want to say.”

[RELATED: Gruden lauds "loyal" Raiders fans for support despite move]

Abram had made some plays in training camp and looked good during joint practices against the L.A. Rams. There’s only so much he can prove until the regular season when he’ll be a valued member of the defensive backfield.

He won’t change his attitude or demeanor and will continue to play his way.

“My philosophy is what Coach Gruden tells us every day. Just be yourself,” Abram said. “You know, don’t change up, just be yourself because that’s all that matters, at the end of the day.”