UK Football

Ex-Cat Woodyard quietly impresses Broncos

DENVER — Rookie linebacker Wesley Woodyard lets his play do most of the talking.

"He not about making a lot of noise," Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Bob Slowik said. "He's all about going about his business."

The free agent from Kentucky enjoys flying under the radar — just not the coaching staff's.

"I like it that way," Woodyard said. "I like just going out and doing my job, completing my assignments."

The lack of public attention was further emphasized upon his arrival in Denver. Throughout training camp attending fans called him "Woodward" instead of "Woodyard."

"I'm used to it. People mispronounce my name all the time," Woodyard said. "They'll get the name said right if I continue to make plays."

Woodyard has been playing without much fanfare throughout his career.

"Even in high school I've always been a guy that's loved proving myself," Woodyard said. "It always feels better when you earn your playing time."

During his first two seasons at Kentucky, Woodyard played on the scout team and he said he learned a valuable lesson from Wildcats Coach Rich Brooks.

"I learned to enjoy the role of pushing people ahead of me to get better," Woodyard said. "If they don't get better, then I usually overtake them."

By the time he was finished, he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection his last two seasons and led the league with 101/2 tackles per game as a senior.

When undrafted, he didn't fuss and fret. He accepted the snubbing, which he thought was due in part to his 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pound frame.

"I had a lot knocks on my size, but I say you can't measure heart," Woodyard said. "So I go out there every play with a chip on my shoulder and just try to beat the person that's across from me."

Making the most of playing time afforded him by injuries to Boss Bailey and Louis Green, Woodyard had a team-high eight solo tackles in the team's first pre-season game against Houston, and his coaches took notice.

"I saw Woodyard did a heck of a job jumping in once the lights went on," Slowik said.

Woodyard enters Denver's last pre-season game Friday at Arizona tied with Domonique Foxworth for the team lead with 15 tackles.

"I feel real good, but I'm a type of guy that has to get better week in and week out. I'm trying to continue to prove myself on the field," Woodyard said.

Outwardly at least, he's not fretting over Saturday's final cuts.

"I try not to worry about it," he said. "Why worry about it if you are making plays when you get the opportunity? Let the playing make the point."