The Baltimore Ravens needed to add a jolt to their offense after losing Steve Smith Sr. last season. Other than Mike Wallace, the team lacked a playmaker on offense.
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome signed veteran running back Danny Woodhead to a three-year, $8 million contract during the free agency period. Woodhead is coming off of an ACL tear that cost him all of the 2016 season with the San Diego Chargers.
Woodhead, a 5-foot-8, 217-pound running back, is looking forward to a fresh start in Baltimore and wants to put his injury behind him.
"It is definitely a fresh start with a new team. As far as the ACL, I have not really thought about it," Woodhead said at a press conference before wrapping up minicamp. "I am out there trying to compete and trying to win. If I have a route called or if I am supposed to pass protect, I am going out there to win. If I am thinking about the past, I do not think that helps me win."
Woodhead broke into the NFL with the New York Jets after going undrafted out of Chadron State in 2008. He missed all of his rookie season due to injury and played sporadically in 2009 before being released by the Jets in 2010.
The New England Patriots signed Woodhead, and he eventually took over as their primary third-down back. He had a touchdown catch which was the first score of Super Bowl XLVI. That Patriots team went undefeated before losing to the New York Giants by a score 21 - 17.
Woodhead went on to sign with the Chargers in 2013 and put up a career year. He led all NFL running backs with six touchdown receptions and was second with 76 catches for 605 yards in the regular season. He also had 106 carries for 429 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per attempt. His overall totals were 1,034 yards and eight touchdowns.
It has been a couple of seasons since Woodhead was able to put up solid numbers, but he is ready to get back on track in his new city.
"Everywhere is a fresh start, because it is new coaches, new people, new teammates. That is always good, but I am just excited about the guys that I am playing with and working with and the staff," Woodhead explained. "I think we have an opportunity to have a good team. This is a different than San Diego, a little different than New England, [different] than New York [Jets] – my first team."
Woodhead will be a change of pace from the punishing, straightforward running style that Terrance West presents. He gives them another option in the passing game as well.
Although they were only in helmets, shorts, and t-shirts, West was impressed with Woodhead after OTAs and minicamp.
"Danny is explosive, man. He’s a great back coming out of the backfield. The film doesn’t lie; he does it," said West.
Woodhead isn't the biggest player, but he is expected to give the Ravens offense a huge boost.