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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he was “surprised” when he heard Monday that former teammate and Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson would retire at the end of this season.

Woodson spent seven seasons with the Packers. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2009 and helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl title in 2010.

Over the years, Rodgers has said Woodson was among his favorite teammates. He’s also credited Woodson for making him a better player through their practice battles.

The Packers beat the Raiders 30-20 on Sunday. Rodgers watched film of Woodson all week, he said, and was impressed with what he saw.

“I was surprised,” Rodgers said. “I really was. I talked to him before and after the game, and just watching him on film last week, it was impressive. All the plays he’s making, and he rocked James (Starks) on the one that turned (out) to be a fumble. He was in the backfield on a few plays, and making plays on the back end. I think that ultimately though might be the one thing there’s a lot to be said for — going out on your own terms. He’s playing at the highest level. He made the Pro Bowl, which he should have, and now he can finish these last two games off and go out the right way.

“There’s a lot to be said for exiting the game on top, and he’s going to do it. I’m really happy for him as a friend and as a contemporary as well.”

Rodgers said Woodson’s impending retirement was never mentioned when they spoke on the field Sunday. The quarterback did have a message for the future Hall of Fame safety, though.

“I told him he should keep playing,” Rodgers said. "'You’re playing so well, playing at a high level.' And you know, he’s got two young boys, and it’ll be fun, I think, for him to be able to step into the next chapter of his life.”

rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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