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5 Things To Know About Danny Woodhead

Posted Mar 17, 2017

The Ravens’ newest running back has gained a celebrity following after going overlooked during much of his football career. He’s also a really good golfer and has beef with Oreos.

Just about everywhere Danny Woodhead has played, he’s had a cult following of fans.

Now Woodhead is a Baltimore Raven, and fans are just starting to appreciate him.

Here are five things to know about Woodhead:

 1. All he ever wanted to do was play football

Woodhead wasn’t exactly gifted with the typical football player’s body, as he measures in now at 5-foot-8, 200 pounds. His size has always been a limitation in the eyes of many. But Woodhead knew from a young age that all he wanted to do was play football. In an essay in The Players’ Tribune, he remembered writing jersey numbers on the backs of toy cowboys and Indians and hosting mock football games on his bedroom floor. When he moved those pretend football games to the living room, he drew a football field on the carpet with a green marker. Woodhead started playing football in fourth grade and became a ball boy at North Platte High School, where his dad coached. Once he got to that same high school, he played football in the fall, basketball in the winter and soccer in the spring, and ran track his junior year. But football was always his love.

2. He was always overlooked

Woodhead hails from tiny North Platte, Neb. (population 25,000) in the middle of nowhere. The closest major cities are Denver and Omaha, which are both about four hours away. He had a record-setting career at North Platte High and was named Nebraska’s 2003 Player of the Year, but was still overlooked by his in-state dream school, the University of Nebraska. They offered him a walk-on spot as a kick returner only, saying he was too small to play running back or wide receiver. So he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined his brother, Ben, at Division II Chadron State, where he became the first-ever athlete in school history to receive a full-ride scholarship.

Woodhead left Chadron, Neb. as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (7,962 yards) and tied the national record with 109 touchdowns. Still, he didn’t receive an invite to the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine. He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds at his pro day that would have been among the fastest at the combine, yet he still went undrafted. He signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets, but tore his ACL a couple days into rookie training camp. The Jets released him after the first game of his second season, and, after he cleared waivers, the rival New England Patriots eventually picked him up. That’s when Woodhead’s NFL career took off.

3. He’s gained a celebrity following

Even once the Patriots gave Woodhead a chance, it wasn’t like he was an instant hit. In 2010 (his first season with the Patriots), Woodhead posed as a Modell’s employee trying to sell his own jersey. Not only did fans not recognize him, but he had a tough time getting anyone to buy his threads.

His star power has come a long way since, however. While playing for the San Diego Chargers for the past four years, Woodhead gained famous actress Anne Hathaway as a fan. The Academy Award-winning actress was spotted wearing a No. 39 Woodhead jersey while walking her dog in 2013 (Woodhead’s first year with the Chargers).

Speaking of celebrities …

4. He's a scratch golfer

There may not be a sport that Woodhead isn’t good at. The entire Woodhead family plays golf and Danny is the best. He’s apparently a scratch golfer who shot a career-best 66 a few years ago.

“I know he works at [his golf game], but it’s so easy for him – it drives me crazy,” San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “Some of the shots he makes, he’s not even in my league. Obviously, he’s shot rounds under par before, but I’ve seen him go a steady 10 to 12 pars in a row. He hits the fairway, hits the green, two-putt.”

5. He has beef with Oreos

While Woodhead was rehabbing his torn ACL last year, he took some time to ponder life’s biggest questions – like the difference between regular and double-stuff Oreos. Follow the back-and-forth he had with fans after this tweet.

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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