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Fan_Since_64

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#37 - Tom Woodeshick
« on: October 19, 2009, 07:53:28 PM »



#37
Tom Woodeshick


Hard-nosed fullback Tom Woodeshick, who played for the Eagles from 1963 thru 1971, was an outstanding and memorable player during a low period in the team’s history.

Woody was chosen by the Eagles in the 8th round of the 1963 draft out of West Virginia, upon the recommendation of Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren. The Wilkes-Barre, PA native was also drafted by the AFL’s Buffalo Bills in that league’s 4th round, and the Birds almost lost him to the rival circuit. In the end, he came to Philadelphia, although he spent his rookie season playing on special teams. He returned 3 kickoffs for 72 yards (the only kickoff returns of his career) and carried the ball just 5 times for 18 yards as a backup to Clarence Peaks and Ted Dean.

Peaks and Dean were gone in ’64, as part of new Head Coach/GM Joe Kuharich’s housecleaning, but a new starting fullback, Earl Gros, arrived from Green Bay, along with rookie Israel (Izzy) Lang, an 18th round pick out of Tennessee State who would compete with Woodeshick for playing time over the next few seasons. Nevertheless, Tom saw more action, most notably while replacing an injured Gros in the second game of the season against San Francisco, carrying the ball 18 times for 78 yards. He also scored a TD, fittingly enough on a one-yard plunge.

Woody continued to split time with Lang while backing up Gros in 1965, and seemed to have lost the competition to Izzy at the beginning of ’66. However, Lang ran into injury problems, and by the second half of the season Woodeshick had taken over the starting role and would not relinquish it, except for injury, until his last season in Philadelphia. Of his 330 rushing yards in 1966, 283 came in the last three-and-a-half games, including 105 yards on 27 carries, with two one-yard TD plunges, at Washington in the season finale.

The next three years were the most productive of Tom’s career, even though the Eagles as a team went a combined 12-28-2. Woody carried the ball 558 times for 2448 yards (a 4.4 average) and 13 TDs. His 10 TDs in 1967 (6 rushing, 4 receiving) were his most for a single season. He reached career highs for attempts (217) and yards (947) in 1968, a season in which he generated 1275 yards of total offense, including 328 yards on a career-high 36 pass receptions. All of this was for a team that went 2-12 and was beset by turmoil. He was rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl (his only one), and also received second team All-NFL honors from the Associated Press.

For his career with the Eagles, Woody rushed 831 times for 3563 yards, a 4.3-yard average, with 21 TDs. He had 7 hundred-yard rushing games, with a high of 130 yards on 25 carries and a TD in a memorable game against the Los Angeles Rams at Franklin Field in 1969. There were also two 129-yard performances: at Atlanta in 1967 on 20 carries, and at home against the Giants in ’68 on 15 carries, including a 54-yard TD run. Developing into a fine receiver out of the backfield over time, he also caught 125 passes for 1173 yards (a 9.4 average) and 6 touchdowns, including a dazzling 44-yard run with a Jack Concannon screen pass against Cleveland in 1966.

A classic fullback at 6’0” and 225 pounds with a bruising running style between the tackles (he had a reputation as one of the most physically punishing running backs in the league during his prime), Woodeshick nevertheless had surprising speed in the open field and was capable of breaking away for long runs. He had a 57-yard TD jaunt against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1970, the previously referenced 54-yard carry against the Giants in ’68 and a 40-yard run for a touchdown against Washington in ’67. Unfortunately, he had a 60-yard run for an apparent touchdown at home against the Chicago Bears in ’68 that was called back due to a penalty.

The failure of the 60-yard run to count also prevented Woody from achieving a thousand-yard rushing season in 1968 (the penalty was not material to his breaking through the line of scrimmage on the play), as he came up 53 yards short, which was a tremendous disappointment to him. He was also ejected during the first half of a game against Dallas for coming off the bench after a kickoff to tangle with Cowboys Phil Clark and Mike Gaechter, and was knocked out of the season finale at home against Minnesota (a game rendered infamous in Philadelphia sports history by the grossly overplayed snowballing of a drunk in a Santa Claus suit) after suffering a gruesome eye injury in the third quarter. Woodeshick followed up with 831 yards in ’69, but missed two games in what was his last effective season.

Tom’s 1970 season was cut short due to an ankle injury that required surgery, and he was not up to par when he returned in ’71, losing his starting job and demanding to be traded. He finished out the year, but was among the final cuts prior to the 1972 season. Picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals, he finished his career by appearing in just four games in ’72 and carrying the ball 5 times for 14 yards.

A notable player for a poor team during his best years, Woody was one of the few consistent performers on offense that fans could count on during those bleak seasons. He was recognized for his efforts with the previously mentioned 2nd team All-NFL selection by the Associated Press in 1968, as well as 1st team All-NFL honors by the New York Daily News and 2nd team recognition by the Associated Press and UPI in ’69.

Woodeshick ended up appearing in more games than any other Eagles running back (111). It took him awhile to become established as the starting fullback and chief ball carrier for the Eagles, but he was always a fan favorite for his obvious enthusiasm and effort on the field, whether covering kicks early in his career or fighting for every yard as he battered opposing defenses.

Tom Woodeshick’s career record with the Eagles:

RUSHING

Year
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
G
14
13
13
14
14
14
12
6
11
Att.
5
37
28
85
155
217
186
52
66
Yds.
18
180
145
330
670
947
831
254
188
Avg.
3.6  
4.9  
5.2
3.9
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.9
2.8  
TD
0
2
0
4
6
3
4
2
0

PASS RECEIVING

Year
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
G
14
13
13
14
14
14
12
6
11
Rec.
1
4
6
10
34
36
22
6
6
Yds.
-3
12
86
118
391
328
177
28
36
Avg.
-3.0    
3.0  
14.3
11.8
11.5
9.1
8.0
4.7
6.0
TD
0
0
0
1
4
0
0
0
1



« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 08:07:56 PM by Fan_Since_64 »
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #37 - Tom Woodeshick
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2009, 08:03:04 PM »

Other Eagles who wore #37:

Irv Kupcinet (Blocking Back/DB, 1935)
Bob Rowe (FB/LB, 1935)
Winford Baze (Wingback/TB/DB, 1937)
John Cole (Blocking Back/FB/LB, 1938, 40)
Bree Cuppoletti (G, 1939)
Fred Gloden (HB/DB, 1941)
Ernie Steele (HB/DB, 1942-48 - the runner-up)
Merritt Kersey (P, 1974-75)
Tommy Campbell (DB, 1976)
Billy Campfield (RB, 1978-82)
Junior Tautalatasi (RB, 1986-88)
Sammy Lilly (DB, 1989-90)
Sean Woodson (DB, 1998)
Sean Considine (DB, 2005-08)
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Don Ho

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Re: #37 - Tom Woodeshick
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 04:45:47 AM »

Loved Billy Campfield.  He was a tough little SOB

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