Rod Woodson's days as a free agent are all but over. The star cornerback says he's only interested in joining the San Francisco 49ers, and the team intends to accommodate him.
Others clubs were told that Woodson has taken himself off the open market and committed to San Francisco, according to his agent, Eugene Parker."Rod informed various teams that he has decided that he wants to play in San Francisco," Parker said Thursday. "We have yet to work out all the details, so we don't have a contract, but we have discussed parameters.
"I do know that they would like him there and Rod wants to be there and we should be able to work that out. We expect to be putting something together with the 49ers within the next two or three weeks."
Once be becomes a 49er, Woodson is expected to take over the starting left cornerback job from Tyronne Drakeford, who struggled at times last season in his first full year as a starter.
Drakeford likely would return to nickel back, a position he played before becoming the starter in 1996 after San Francisco lost Pro Bowler Eric Davis to Carolina as a free agent.
The actual signing with San Francisco might not be formalized for a couple of weeks while the 49ers work to clear room under the salary cap for Woodson, a seven-time Pro Bowler in 10 seasons with Pittsburgh and a member of the NFL's 75th anniversary team.
Woodson also is involved this week in running a charity football camp, and 49ers president Carmen Policy and general manager Dwight Clark have vacations scheduled.
Parker declined to discuss any of the contract proposals except to say that the initial commitment to the 49ers might not be longer than a year or two.
"Rod will be able to get into the organization and see how it goes," Parker said.
The 49ers are currently $180,000 below the salary cap, but they hope to create an additional $750,000 in cap space by restructuring the contract of linebacker Ken Norton Jr., a matter that remains under negotiation.
Woodson, who missed virtually all of the 1995 season because of a knee injury and also underwent offseason surgery, recently held a workout at Purdue University in front of representatives from 10 NFL teams, including the 49ers.
The Cincinnati Bengals, who also were in attendance, had offered Woodson a three-year deal reportedly worth between $1.5 and $2 million per season.
The 49ers reportedly were expected to offer him a one-year contract worth about $1.2 million, plus incentives. Parker said the $1.2 million figure was low.
Woodson, who has been bothered by injuries the past two season, has said he would prefer to play most of his games on a grass field, both to prolong his career and perhaps ease the possibility of reinjury.
That gave San Francisco, which plays on a grass field, an edge in the pursuit of Woodson. The Bengals play their home games on an artificial surface.