By Dave Thomas
While former New England Patriot Wes Welker probably made the most off-season splash by landing in Denver with future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning, former teammate Danny Woodhead has found himself a home in San Diego for the Chargers.
When he landed with the Bolts in the off-season, Woodhead was likely viewed by many of the San Diego faithful as just a spare part in the offensive game plan that new head coach Mike McCoy was looking to put together. After four games, however, it turns out that Woodhead is more than just an extra part sitting around catching time on the pine.
As was evidenced in San Diego’s 30-21 victory over NFC East leading Dallas, Woodhead proved instrumental on several drives, capping a pair of them off with touchdown receptions from quarterback Philip Rivers. Along with scoring twice, the Chadron State (Nebraska) product showed off some fire and determination that can sometimes be lacking on the Bolts.
Who is Danny Woodhead?
For those not familiar with number 39, Woodhead recorded several NCAA college football rushing records in his time with the Chadron State Eagles, including single season rushing and all-time rushing marks. Along with the records, Woodhead was a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner, given to the top player for Division II. He would become the NCAA’s all-time, all-division leading rusher in 2007, a record that would be broken just over a year later.
Undrafted out of college, Woodhead would go on to first suit up for the New York Jets in 2009, moving on to play for the rival Patriots in 2010. As the Patriots began to make a number of personnel changes (especially on the offensive side of the ball) following the 2012 campaign, Woodhead was among those who would find their way out of Foxboro.
After agreeing to terms (two years, $3.5 million) with the Bolts in March, Woodhead would go to camp in most eyes as a backup to starter Ryan Mathews.
While Mathews (64 carries, 226 yards rushing in four games) is still the featured back in San Diego, Woodhead (19 carries, 90 yards rushing) has proven a nice catch after four games. Woodhead has also proved to be another receiving weapon for Rivers, catching 22 balls for 162 yards to date.
With starting wide receiver Malcom Floyd now on the reserve-injured list (neck sprain), Woodhead’s ability to give opposing defenses another player to worry about when Rivers is looking to throw bodes well for the Chargers.
Even though one Danny Woodhead will not make anyone in San Diego soon forget about LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles or current back Ryan Mathews, he certainly has the ability to provide some valuable playing time this fall for a team looking to end a three-year playoff drought.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.