Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Charles Woodson announced Monday that he’s retiring after the conclusion of the NFL season. Since the Oakland Raiders won’t qualify for the postseason this year — usually one of the league’s most comforting constants for non-Raiders fans — that means we only have two games left to enjoy one of the greatest athletes to ever take the gridiron.

There were high expectations from the beginning of Woodson’s professional career, given his status as the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy and the No. 4 overall pick out of Michigan.

He blew past even the most optimistic projections.

His 65 interceptions are tied for fifth-most all-time. Only five active players have collected half as many picks as Woodson.

Woodson is the only player in NFL history with at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. An eight-time Pro Bowler and the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Woodson won Super Bowl XLIV during seven seasons with Green Bay before returning to Oakland in 2013 to finish out his distinguished 18-year professional career.

He’ll retire as one of only two players in history to win a Super Bowl, Heisman Trophy, AP Rookie of the Year and AP Player of the Year, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The other is Hall of Fame tailback Marcus Allen.

Woodson mentioned on Monday that it was the mental and emotional toll of the sport that convinced him to call it quits, and seemed confident he could compete physically with players almost half his age. And the statistics back up that assertion.

The 39-year-old is second in the NFL this season with eight takeaways, and he’s generally gotten better with age — 48 of 65 interceptions have come since he turned 30.

One of the more interesting statistics Woodson sits near the top of the leadeboard for is interceptions returned for touchdowns — he only needs one more to tie Rod Woodson for the most all time. Though somewhat trivial, the stat encompasses Woodson’s impeccable defensive anticipation and ageless athletic ability. Don’t count out Woodson for pulling out one last pick-six against Philip Rivers or Alex Smith before he hangs up his cleats for the last time.

The timing of Woodson’s announcement might seem somewhat random, with two weeks remaining in the season. In truth, Woodson felt he owed Raiders Nation a heads up that they only had one more chance to see him play in Coliseum, when Oakland hosts the Chargers on Thursday Night Football later this week in the team’s last home game of the season.

Given the rumors swirling around the franchise’s possible impending move back to Los Angeles, it’d be a crushing blow for Oakland-based Raiders fans if they had to lose both their team and one of the franchise’s most iconic players in the same offseason. But it’d also be kind of fitting.

Because Woodson is basically the last reminder of when the Oakland Raiders were a team to be reckoned with. Now, with Southern California calling once again, young fans who started paying attention to the NFL in the mid-2000s might not ever grasp just how much respect the Oakland Raider brand — and Woodson — once commanded.

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