Commentary

Woodhead takes Jets behind woodshed

Any other time, Gang Green would be happy for ex-teammate -- but not after this rout

Updated: December 7, 2010, 4:18 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If any people still doubt that Danny Woodhead can play football in the modern era, they are in a distinct minority. Woodhead, a former Jet, just needed the right system -- and it wasn't in New York.

"This is where I am. I am a New England Patriot," Woodhead said from the postgame podium, speaking after a four-catch, 104-yard performance that is no doubt a highlight of his career.

"Was I over there at one time? Yeah, but that isn't something that I dwell on or ever want to dwell on because that's not who I am now. I am a New England Patriot and that is the most important thing."

[+] EnlargeDanny Woodhead
John Munson/The Star-Ledger/US PresswireThe Jets couldn't catch up to Danny Woodhead, whose four receptions included a 50-yard gain.

His former Jets teammates were down the hall. It was hard for some to be truly happy for Woodhead in the wake of a 45-3 division loss to the Patriots that will have consequences into January.

"Right now I'm not happy for him, because he did that on us," said safety Eric Smith, whose locker was near Woodhead's a few months ago. "Any other game, if we were watching this at home and I see him have 100 yards, I'd be happy for him. But not today."

"We definitely couldn't stop him tonight," said Dwight Lowery, who was drafted by the Jets in 2008, the same year Woodhead was brought in as an undrafted free agent. "And he probably feels good for the fact that the Jets cut him.

"That's usually how it happens when you cut a guy who has heart and he's a good football player. You see that guy again, you better be prepared to see a better version of that person you let go. He's a better football player than when he was here because he's being used properly in that system."

Woodhead was behind running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, and the Jets opted to waive Woodhead in early September over draft pick Joe McKnight. The USC back has been largely inactive this season, although not on Monday night. McKnight had three carries for 19 yards.

Dustin Keller came in with the same class as Woodhead and has stayed in touch with the running back, but the tight end didn't even crack a smile when discussing his friend after Monday's loss.

"After Danny left us and came to the Patriots, you always want to see him have a great game," Keller said, "[but] definitely not against us."

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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