Woodhead finding role as RB veteran

SOUTH BOSTON -- While the Patriots have stocked up on offensive players in free agency this offseason, one position that has received less attention than others is running back.

Danny Woodhead, who enters his third season in New England, is now the elder statesman of the Patriots' running back corps. 14-year veteran Kevin Faulk announced his intention to return to the team last week, but Woodhead, along with 2011 draft selections Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, are currently the top running backs under contract.

"I don't feel like I'm one of the older guys, I still feel young," Woodhead said on Sunday. "It's year five. It goes fast. Really I'm just looking forward to going back to work and getting ready to play football again. That's the major concern: trying to get better everyday."

Recently, Woodhead's teammate, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, was eliminated from the 2013 Madden cover vote. Woodhead was similarly unsuccessful in his bid for last year's cover. Will Woodhead have any advice for Gronkowski on how to cope with the defeat?

"I know Rob and I don't think he's probably hurt about it. It's something I'm sure he had fun with," Woodhead said, smiling. "It's something cool to be considered and I'm sure he'd tell you that also. ...I don't think I was heartbroken when I wasn't chosen."

Woodhead, who signed an endorsement deal with Skechers last year, greeted fans at the 2012 John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center. Most of the visitors to the convention are runners in Monday's Boston Marathon, leading to questions on whether Woodhead would ever consider running a marathon.

"I've never ran that far," Woodhead said, noting that he's never run more than about three miles. "I don't understand running 26.2 miles. I don't understand that. ...I'm not about to do a 5k even. That's just not my area. I play football."