Damien Woody, Former Patriots Lineman, Would "Definitely" Return to New England

Aaron DodgeAnalyst IMarch 3, 2011

27 Jan 2002 : Damien Woody of the New England Patriots celebrates after the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Patriots won 24-17. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Former New England Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody, who was cut by the New York Jets on Monday, is open to returning to Foxboro next season. 

"I had a great time up there," said Woody. "I didn't leave on any bad terms or anything like that. That would definitely be intriguing, coming back."

The Patriots selected Woody with the 17th overall pick in the 1999 draft, a year before the Bill Belichick era began.

The Boston College product was originally selected as a center, his primary position in New England, but he has played every position on the offensive line except for left tackle. He started 76 games for New England, missing only four games in his five seasons with the team.

In 2004, Woody signed a lucrative contract with the Detroit Lions and was selected to the Pro Bowl that season as an alternate.

Falling victim to major injuries for the first time in his career, Woody only played in 13 games in his final two years with Detroit and again hit free agency in 2008.

The New York Jets and Woody agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract in 2008, but elected to cut the 11-year veteran this offseason, taking the team off the hook for his $3.35 million salary and $400,000 in workout bonus. He suffered a torn Achilles tendon late in 2010 and still has a significant recovery ahead of him, meaning he won't be passing physicals any time soon.

Still an elite run-blocker with underrated pass protection skills when healthy, the 33-year-old may return to the Jets at a lesser salary next season.

The Patriots could have a mutual interest in the dynamic veteran if his recovery goes as planned.

Their offensive line has had a rough offseason with the retirement of Stephen Neal, Matt Light hitting free agency, Nick Kaczur refusing a pay cut and, of course, Logan Mankin's franchise tag dilemma.

Woody will have some options on the table with New York still interested in him.

"With the CBA and the injury, and my age, they say they want to re-sign me after the CBA is resolved,” Woody said. ‘‘We’ll see how that goes.”

That hasn't stopped Patriots fans from voicing their opinion on where the big man's next destination should be.

"You would not believe how many New England people on my Twitter account, are saying, ‘Dude, you gotta come back. We would definitely welcome you back up here,”’ Woody said with a laugh.