When the Chargers signed running back Danny Woodhead as a free agent last March, they were hoping he could come in and add some spark to their offense. And through the first seven weeks of the season, Woodhead has not disappointed and is one of the main reasons this team is sporting a 4-3 record entering the bye week. As they prepare to face the Redskins this Sunday, Woodhead ranks second on the team with 172 yards rushing with one touchdown and third on the team with 40 receptions for 314 yards and three touchdowns – he also leads the team in YAC (yards after catch) with 271 yards. Prior to their bye week, Woodhead answered a few questions from MP reporter Art Garcia Jr.
AG: What are your thoughts having signed with the Chargers as a free agent?
DW: It felt like it was a good opportunity because I liked what both Tom (Telesco) and Mike (McCoy) were starting and it just felt like a good fit for me.
AG: Did you get any other offers while you were out on the free agent market?
DW: You know it’s interesting because you get different offers from different teams. In the end you just have to do what’s best for you and your family.
AG: So what made you decide to sign with the Chargers?
DW: I think it was just what Tom and Mike were starting and they obviously convinced me that I wanted to be a part of this.
AG: Having gone undrafted, can you believe you are playing in your sixth year in the NFL?
DW: You know it’s crazy, I still feel like it’s early on in my career. You know, I’ve been blessed – anytime you get to play on Sundays … I mean I’m blessed even if I didn’t get to play on Sundays. As far as football, any time you can play on Sundays it’s a whole different feeling, and I’m fortunate to be able to.
AG: With the lifespan of the average NFL player being, I believe, 3-1/2 years, I would think that your size has played a big part in your career – thoughts?
DW: I don’t know necessarily if my size has anything to make me feel better about it, because I don’t feel like that’s really (an issue), everyone wants to say that it’s such a detriment but I’m not worried about it.
AG: I’m not saying you’re size is a negative, rather, I would think it’s an advantage because I remember Doug Flutie telling me he had a long career in part because nobody could get a clean hit on him. Is that your experience?
DW: Oh yeah, exactly. I’m mean, six years – it’s crazy to be in it for six years and like I said, I’m just thankful I’ve been able to play.
AG: With all the negative reports surrounding injuries in football what would you tell parents who are concerned about letting their kids play this sport?
DW: I don’t know, that’s what is awesome about being parents, you can decide on what you want your children to do or what you think is best for your children. I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of good playing football and a lot of great life lessons, but that’s what’s awesome about being parents is you can do what you think is best for your child.
AG: Having beaten the odds by making the NFL, what’s the best thing about being an NFL player?
DW: It’s being able to play a game that not a lot of people are able to play like … like a kid’s game, and I get to. I’m so blessed that I’ve been able to (play pro ball), God has blessed me to be able to play some football in my life.
AG: You and Philip (Rivers) seem much more in sync on the field, are you at that point where you can look at each other and know what to do without having to say a word?
DW: I think every day you have to work with every single player on your team because it’s a long season. It’s a process and we have to develop the best chemistry we can as a team.
When asked if he sees any similarities between Rivers and his former quarterback for the Patriots, Tom Brady, Woodhead stated he doesn’t like to compare players. However, he did describe Rivers as “a great quarterback, a great player and a great teammate.” While playing college ball at Chadron State in Nebraska, Woodhead was a two-time recipient of the Harlon Hill Award, Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Woodhead finished his collegiate career as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (7,962 yards) and he tied a national mark with 109 touchdowns.