Former NFL player Danny Woodhead is one qualifier away from making it to the US Open

Danny Woodhead has moved on to a golf career that was just four years away from joining the NFL.

Danny Woodhead has moved on to a golf career that was just four years away from joining the NFL.
ImageAP

I find it equally awe-inspiring and maddening when an athlete can practice two sports, let alone pick up one, and become better at it in a relatively short period of time than many people who do it for a living.

Former NFL running back Danny Woodhead, 37, retired from the competition four years ago and switched to golf. Now the Nebraska native is just one step away from qualifying for the US Open in Brookline, Massachusetts, in June.

Here he rolls a long putt (and jokes about his celebration) during his even par 71 final round of the local qualifier at Omaha Country Club on Wednesday.

Woodhead, who must finish in the top 10 of all section events to progress, told the Omaha World-Herald that he has been “grinding” the sport since he left football.

“Only four years, but it’s been hard work. …I got a little glimpse of the last four of the state game last year. I just want to keep being the best I can be. That’s my whole goal. We’ll see what happens, but over the next month I’ll be grinding to get ready for sectionals and see what happens,” Woodhead said.

Granted, not everyone has the luxury of being able to play golf in their thirties, but really? Four years? Is that all it took? I’ve been playing for a few decades, and I’m still bad. This isn’t surprising to Woodhead though, as he’s been an athletic freak since high school.

He holds the record for rushing a high school career in the state of Nebraska, and holds 21 Division II college football recordsincludes the figure for most all-purpose yards in a season (3,159) and career (9,480), most 200-yard rushing games in a career (19 of his 44 overall games at Chadron State), and most consecutive games with a touchdown (38).

(Of the 3 million reasons why it’s illegal to say Bill Callahan’s name in my house, his refusal to give Woodhead a scholarship in Nebraska is in the Top 3. The coach who called a gazillion screen passes in front of Marlon fucking Lucky during his brief stint as the Huskers coach who failed to see the value of homegrown/future all-round pro talent was unscrupulous at the time and is now unforgivable given the course of Woodhead’s career Fuck you Bill Callahan Kind regards hello, fuck you.)

Where was I? Oh yes, Woodhead is one of the better major sports athletes that golfers have become in recent years making the transition from the field or track to the tee box. Tony Romo made the sectional qualifier in 2010, but hasn’t been back since. He had to withdraw from the competition after the tournament delayed the tournament due to scheduling conflicts with OTAs for the Cowboys.

North Carolina A&T academic athlete of the year JR Smith picked up the game throughout his NBA career and has doubled it since he retired. He’s also take advantage of NIL dealswhy the hell not.

John Smoltz has even made it to the Senior US Open. It didn’t go greatbut casually compete with older professionals because you miss competition in your life requires a level of coordination and athleticism that very few people can relate to.

We’ll see how Woodhead does in his sectional qualifying as the competition will be a lot better. If he makes a professional sports return to the New England area in June, it will be a fun storyline to follow for the first few days, as I’m sure the Patriot fan favorite who rushed to 2,238 yards and received 2,698 receiving yards had like a pro will immediately be embraced by the crowd…and miss the cut because let’s face it, that’s where this run ends if it even gets around to starting.

Regardless of whether he qualifies for the US Open, it’s another incredible but not-so-shattering development in the life of the product from North Platte, Nebraska — and a reminder that, with a little bit of dedication, most professional athletes are probably better at what sports like 95 percent of normal people.

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