Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 16, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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irish in the pros Cierre Wood Makes The Most Of His Shot By Andrew Owens W hen former Irish running back Cierre Wood found out he had earned one of 53 roster spots on the Houston Texans, he immediately rushed to the phone to tell the news to someone very important to him, even if the recipient of the call couldn't understand. Braelin Wood, Cierre's 1-year-old daughter, was the first person to whom Wood delivered the news before he told the rest of his family. "My mom was on the phone as well," Wood told reporters. "My mom, she just got emotional, started praying on the phone. That's exactly what I did at that point. Got on my knees and I just broke down to myself, so I was just extremely fortunate, extremely happy." It takes a prayer or two for an undrafted free agent to make an NFL squad, even if the Texans retained a franchise-record four of them heading into the 2013 campaign. The feat felt especially rewarding to Wood, who opted to turn pro with a year of eligibility remaining at Notre Dame. His final season did not go as planned — it began with a two-game suspension, and by the end of the season classmate Theo Riddick had earned the lion's share of carries. To make matters worse, 254 players' names were called on draft day, but Wood, an undrafted free agent, compiled 136 total yards (107 rushing) in the Texans' final preseason game to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. photo courtesy houston texans Wood's was not. "It was desperation," Wood said. "Not getting drafted was really, really saddening to me. At the same time, I'm not one to feel sad about myself or feel sad about anyone's situation. At that point, I'll figure out the next move. "The game plan, which was to get picked up by a team, the Texans gave me my shot. From that point on, it was I've got to work as hard as I can to put myself in the limelight to show everybody what I've got, not just the Texans, but every other team." Wood seized the opportunity during the preseason with a team-high 191 yards on 35 carries, including 107 in the final exhibition game. When the Texans whittled their roster down to the NFLmandated 53, Wood's long offseason journey concluded with triumph.

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