Danny Woodhead’s 2016 season was cut short after just two weeks thanks to a torn ACL. He’ll try to reclaim the magic that made him one of the league’s best third down backs in 2017 after signing a deal with the Ravens.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
The Ravens will be Woodhead’s fourth team as a pro. He capped a storied college career at Chadron State with a pair of Harlon Hill awards — Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman — and the honor of being the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher, but the 5’8 tailback couldn’t find a spot in the 2008 NFL Draft. Instead, he signed with the New York Jets, where he spent two-plus seasons but earned only 15 carries.
That served as enough of a tryout to impress Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. New York cut Woodhead in 2010, clearing the way for New England to add him to its roster that fall. The small-school standout made an immediate impact in Foxborough, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and emerging as a legitimate threat in the team’s passing attack.
He spent three years with the Patriots and became a fan favorite thanks to his ability to produce in every facet of the game as a running back. Though he never developed into a surefire top runner, his versatility led him to a pair of contracts worth $9 million total with the Chargers.
Woodhead’s tenure in San Diego has been marred by unfortunate injuries. Two of his last three seasons have ended in September thanks to lower body issues, including a broken ankle in 2014. Though his absence last fall was mitigated by Melvin Gordon’s breakout year, his talent was missed. The Chargers went 4-8 in games decided by eight points or fewer in 2016.
Now, he’ll be in Baltimore trying to help Joe Flacco make the Ravens offense elite.