- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Running back Danny Woodhead has agreed to a two-year contract with the Chargers, as he leaves the Patriots after three productive seasons. The Chargers announced the deal on Friday afternoon.
The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Woodhead served as the Patriots' "passing" back, which is an integral role in the team's offense because of how often they are in spread formations. Woodhead played in 34 percent of the offensive snaps last season, totaling 76 carries for 301 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 40 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots first signed Woodhead in 2010, scooping him up from the rival Jets when they had a run of injuries at running back. He quickly emerged as a reliable presence and one of the team's fan favorites over the next three seasons.
“Danny wants to thank the Patriots for the opportunity he received, and the trust and faith they put in him,” said Woodhead’s agent, Chris Gittings, of One West Sports. “New England was amazing to him; lifelong friends were made, and lifelong memories were created.”
The Patriots have Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen returning atop their running back depth chart, with Vereen -- a 2011 second-round draft choice out of Cal -- the likely top option to fill Woodhead's duties. Second-year players Brandon Bolden and Jeff Demps are also on the depth chart, with veteran Leon Washington expected to be primarily a kickoff returner.
The Patriots had interest in Woodhead's return, but it appears the Chargers were willing to extend more financially to lure him to San Diego.
In Ken Whisenhunt's offense, Woodhead will now be the complement to Ryan Mathews.
"We are really excited to add Danny to our football team," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. "Not only does he add a different dynamic to our offense, but he has all the intangible qualities that we are looking for. Danny is smart, he's tough and he has a passion for the game."