Filed under: College Football, Panini, Topps | Tags: 2008 SAGE HIT, Chadron State, Danny Woodhead, football, football cards, New England Patriots, NFL, Panini America, Patriots, sage, Topps
By Chris Olds | Editor
He’s a small-town guy from Nebraska who went to a small school — Chadron State — where he was the best player in the nation two years in a row as the winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy and destroyed the record books with 7,962 rushing yards and 109 touchdowns, both NCAA records.
He went undrafted in 2008 and toiled on the New York Jets practice squad before getting some playing time last season. He was cut earlier this year after getting attention on HBO’s Hard Knocks and featured treatment from Coach Rex Ryan‘s memorable mouth (“Look at that little *&^%$#$,” said Ryan, watching a preseason touchdown), only to sign on with the New England Patriots where he’s become a cult hero of sorts.
He’s a small-in-stature guy, just 5-foot-7 (though 200 pounds), who could probably blend in well behind the counter at your local fast food joint or working the shelves at Modell’s — after all, he has sold his own football jerseys in relative anonymity despite the fact that he scored six touchdowns this season while playing alongside the likes of Tom Brady and Wes Welker.
And worst of all? He has yet to appear on a single licensed NFL trading card released in pack form. (But that will soon change — keep reading.)
His name? Danny Woodhead.
Woodhead, above selling his jerseys at Modell’s, hasn’t gone unnoticed by football fans, though, as his rise from obscurity to a cult hero on one of the NFL’s most-successful teams has fought through the drought of memorabilia.
Search eBay now and you’ll find nearly 200 auctions for Woodhead items — quite a number considering his lack of trading cards. Examine completed auctions, and you’ll find roughly another 500 more, many of which are Woodhead jerseys and signed helmets and photos. Sure, many were unsold, but when a guy’s got so little memorabilia — Tim Tebow for example already appears on 757 cards — anything out there is likely to grab interest. Signed jerseys and mini-helmets, for example, have sold for more than $100, while signed photos have sold for $30 and up.
Woodhead hasn’t appeared on any football cards since 2008 when SAGE included him in its HIT draft picks product. His certified autograph card there (No. A3) has been as meteoric as the player was this season, going from commons bins to $50. The gold version of that card pushes $60. In all, SAGE made 22 different Woodhead cards — a number that includes eight 1/1 printing plates — but that’s it. And those book prices? They’ve been topped even recently as fans compete for the few cards that have surfaced. His absolute only other option? An eTopps card.
Panini America, one of the two NFL-licensed card manufacturers, confirmed Tuesday night that Woodhead’s first NFL card — his Rookie Card — will appear in 2010 Playoff Contenders, which arrives on Feb. 9.
However, Woodhead’s first autograph card is another story. In fact, according to Woodhead’s agent, autographed cards aren’t very close to a reality at all.
“Oddly enough, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest the last time I approached [the card companies],” said Chris Gittings, Woodhead’s agent based in Helena, Mont. “I do plan on reaching out to both companies again. It’s hard for me to believe that they wouldn’t have any interest in Danny.”
It’s hard to believe that such a blue-collar player would command too much money to sign autographs, either — though this writer didn’t press that matter — so it’s likely that, like most of his career, Woodhead has flown under the radar.
That’s tough thing to do these days — even if you’re 5-foot-7 and on the New England Patriots roster.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
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