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Heady times for Woodhead

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  September 30, 2010 02:30 PM

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Patriots' fans hope Danny Woodhead (right), seen here after scoring his first NFL touchdown, has more reason to celebrate against the Dolphins.

FOXBOROUGH -- OK, so pardon the pun, but these have been heady times for Danny Woodhead, who in the span of a week has gone from being a Jet castaway to a beloved sports figure in New England.

Laurence Maroney? Who's he?

If you've listened to sports talk radio over the last few days, Pats fans have gone completely Lady Gaga over the new guy wearing Maroney's old No. 39. We're talking about the diminutive Woodhead, Little Engine No. 39, who is (generously) listed in the Patriots media guide as being 5-feet-9-inches and 185-pounds.

After he recorded his first NFL start and then scored his first NFL touchdown on a 22-yard run in the second quarter of last Sunday's 38-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, Woodhead seemed to spark a love affair with Patriots Nation.

"Honestly, that's not something I worry about or think about," Woodhead said today in the Patriots' locker room. "But I think that's probably more for you guys or everyone else. But that's not something I look at. What I try to think aboiut is what's at hand and what's coming up and that's the Miami Dolphins.

"My concentration is on working as hard as I can in the meeting rooms, the practice field, or whatever," he said. "That's more my concern."

When he produces the way he did in his Patriots' debut against the Bills, rushing for 42 of the team's 200 yards total offense (marking the first time in two years the Patriots rushed for that many yards), and says things like that, is it any wonder why Pats fans have come to embrace Woodhead?

As heady as these times have been for Woodhead, the two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner from Division 2 Chadron State in Nebraska, he has remained quite grounded.

"Stuff like that, is not important to me," Woodhead said. "The only thing that was important to me was that we got the win. It's the only thing, and we were able to get the win. I was happy that we got the W."

Asked if he did anything with the ball he used on his first NFL score, Woodhead replied, "Nah, not really. I was just excited that we were able to score. Not necessarily that it was me, but that WE got the score."

With the offensive personnel the Patriots have assembled this season, Woodhead was asked if he ever would like to see the team incorporate the Wildcat into its offensive package. He smiled and replied, politely, "Like I said, stuff like that I don't look at what everyone else may be doing or whatever," he said. "I'm just working as hard as I can every single day and coming to work every single day and doing the best I can at everything that I am doing, whether it's being in the meeting room or on the playing field."

So what were those 24 hours like for Woodhead in the aftermath of his first NFL start and first visit to an NFL end zone?

"I just tried getting some sleep and started getting ready for the Dolphins," he said. "I was happy that we got the win, more than anything. The Dolphins are the team we have to get ready for now, so that's what I've been looking to."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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