North Platte Native to Play in Super Bowl

Mark and Annette Woodhead say all five of their kids have been athletes.

"They started playing in little leagues and then on traveling teams, and you know it just seemed to be kind of a natural flow when they got into high school," says Mark Woodhead.

But the Woodhead's son Danny has taken his love of football all the way to the top, overcoming many obstacles along the way.

"He's kind of reached the top of the mountain so to speak at every level," says Bob Zohner, North Platte High School's head football coach from 1979-2005.

Zohner was North Platte's head coach when Danny Woodhead played running back for the Bulldogs. Despite a successful high school career, Zohner says the Nebraska Cornhuskers told Danny he was too small to play running back there.

"Once Danny received the word that they wanted him to walk on, he made the decision to go to Chadron State and never looked back," says Zohner.

Zohner says Danny re-wrote the record books at Chadron, the same college both his parents graduated from, and even won the Harlon Hill trophy twice.

But after graduation, Danny wasn't drafted, and it looked like professional football might not be in his future.

"You just never know, it's a flip of the coin," says Mark. "There's so many great athletes at the college level that don't get a chance to play, and then even those players that get an opportunity to play in the NFL they may not have an opportunity to get on the field."

Danny, however, did get that opportunity, and spent the next two years with the New York Jets. Just after his third season began, the Jets cut Danny, but he was quickly picked up the New England Patriots.

"As far as his journey, it's been up and down, but we've always told him just kind of go through the open doors, whatever's open go through it, and they just seem to keep opening for him, so it's been a blessing," says Danny's mother, Annette.

Coach Zohner says most of North Platte will be cheering for Danny and the Patriots come Super Bowl Sunday.

"If he caught a touchdown pass it was because it was a good throw, if he ran for a touchdown it was because the linemen up front blocked, and that's why everyone pretty well liked Danny because he was always giving credit to everyone else," says Zohner.

Danny's parents say they're just cherishing every opportunity to see one of their kids living his dream, and on Sunday all the Woodhead's will be in Indianapolis cheering their favorite player on.

"When it's all said and done we're just going to see our son, be with our family, and support him," says Annette.

"You know I'm not going to say it's just another game, but it's another chance to watch Dan play," says Mark.


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