For the Rams fans, it was a firework. For their opponents, it feels more like a strike of lightning. News of Eric Weddle a great former San Diego Chargers player famous for his long beard coming out of retirement to sign for the injury-decimated Rams surprised all those not familiar with his career, professional achievements, and his character.
After the playoff win over the Arizona Cardinals on January 17, the Rams head coach Sean McVay spoke about Weddle’s contribution, calling him an igniter while explaining why his presence was equally important for the game as it was for the team. Weddle was visibly excited during his meeting with the media representatives right after the game, describing it as a great team effort. He was playing at his old safety position, for 19 plays, looking fresh and fit on the field. When asked how he felt after pausing for more than two years he responded in a witty fashion that his body feels great as he was mostly covering his team members. Although his contribution to the defense is undeniable, being in charge of the coverage is far from the game Weddle used to play, as he was more involved in the action during his active years.
Opportunity of a lifetime
When there is a job that needs to be done, Weddle is a player known for his hard work, seriousness, and dedication. And with Betway odds giving Rams a 4 points advantage in the Super Bowl, it’s clear that his involvement will just strengthen the Rams’ fortress. and other relevant stats clearly show why he has such a long and fruitful career.
His love for the game started during his high school years and kept going while he played for the University of Utah football team from 2003 to 2006. Right from the start he was leaning toward safety, achieving results such as 10.5 yards on 20 punt returns. In 2007 San Diego Chargers selected him in the second round of the draft and signed him to a $4.16 million, four-year contract with a $1.81 million signing bonus. During his rookie year, he was competing for the starting strong safety position and was named the backup strong safety and nickelback by head coach Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. Weddle closed his fourth season playing for the Chargers, with ten pass deflections, two interceptions, a touchdown, half a sack in 16 games, and 16 starts. During 2011 the team signed him again, this time it was a $40 million, five years contract. However, due to not so smooth negotiations with the Chargers, Weddle also considered other offers made by the Vikings, Jaguars, and Cowboys.
From 2016 till 2019 he played for the Baltimore Ravens and was selected by fellow players for the NFL 2019 Top 100 players. Only three days after being released by the Ravens, Weddle joined the Los Angeles Rams, played a great season, and finished it with 108 tackles and four defended passes. Officially, his retirement started on February 6, 2020, after playing 13 seasons in the NFL.
Decision with no regrets
Speaking about his comeback Weddle said that he would most certainly regret refusing the Rams offer. He added that for him it’s not just an opportunity to support the team in the moment of need but also a chance to prove that, although 37, he still can do it. More importantly, it’s not any team, these are his players and his coach. Judging by Weddle’s words, deciding to join the Rams for a Super Bowl game was an easy thing to do.