On Sept. 14, Bill Belichick and Patriots personnel were evaluating talent on the waiver wire, just as they normally do.
As each player’s name was tossed out, one transaction stood out above the rest: The New York Jets had cut little — and little-used — swingman Danny Woodhead.
“We had him as a player that we were definitely interested in,” Belichick said of the generously listed 5-foot-8-inch, 195-pound running back/wide receiver.
That same day, Belichick traded away then-starting running back Laurence Maroney. Four days later, Woodhead was the newest member of the New England Patriots.
Going into Week 12 against his former team, Woodhead — undrafted two years ago out of Division II Chadron State — has gained 574 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns for the Pats.
“You have to take the advice of your coaches and go out there and do the best you can, whatever it may be that you need to do,” Woodhead said. “If it’s blocking, it’s blocking. If it’s running, it’s running. I just have to go out there and do my job, and that’s really what it is.
“I’m really not a person that’s thinking about my size. I think that’s moreso everyone else, and it’s not something I’m worried about.”
Woodhead’s familiarity with the Jets’ system could make him even more valuable come Monday.
“He’s practiced with those guys more than anybody on our team,” Belichick said. “I’m sure there are some things that he knows about their team that we don’t know just because we’re not as familiar with their personnel or the schemes.”