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Westbrook Back in Philly
Posted By Christopher Rowe On Mar 9 2011 @ 12:56 pm In Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments
Saying that the Eagles’ personnel decisions resemble the cult 1970s sci-fi dystopian flick Logans Run (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074812/) may be a bit unfair, but you can count the number of players over 30 on the Eagles roster without taking off your shoes. Former Eagles RB Brian Westbrook said recently that he’d love to return to Philly. After spending a year in San Francisco with the 6-10 49ers, Brian Westbrook doesn’t sound like he’s ready to call it quits.
The former Eagles great was in town for an autograph-signing event over the weekend and said he would love to return and play for Andy Reid.
Westbrook carried 77 times for 340 yards (4.4 YPC) and had 16 receptions for 150 yards last season. In two games against the Cardinals, he had 36 carries for 215 yards. In all the other games combined, he had 41 carries for 125 yards. But at the age of 31, he thinks he can still play.
“I think I can help out,” he said. “I think they have a very good group of young guys on the team, as far as every position. But I still think that I can help this team win.”
While the Eagles have generally been open to veterans leaving and then returning (see Jeremiah Trotter and Hugh Douglas), a Westbrook return would seem very unlikely. Backup RB is a hole that will need to be addressed at some point. Jerome Harrison received a second-round tender last week, but he has five years of experience, and it’s unclear what the chances are of him returning until the CBA is resolved. Harrison carried 40 times for 239 yards (6.0 YPC) in eight regular-season games with the Eagles. But much of that (21 carries, 99 yards) came in the Week 17 loss to the Cowboys when the starters sat out. In the other seven games, he had 19 carries for 140 yards (7.37 YPC). He was effective when he played, but mostly because of LeSean McCoy’s success, Harrison didn’t see the field much. Coaches didn’t seem comfortable with Harrison in pass protection but it all depends on the amount of offseason reps available.
The only other running back on the Eagles’ active roster is Eldra Buckley, who was also tendered last week. Leonard Weaver is an X-factor. He showed a couple seasons ago that he could be an effective ballcarrier, but Weaver’s health remains a major concern after a devastating injury that threatens his career.
Last year, the Eagles were in a similar position and chose to sign restricted free agent Mike Bell (who didn’t work out and was dealt to Cleveland in the Harrison trade). No
one would be surprised to see the Eagles pursue a running back later in the NFL Draft but the team has other very pressing needs to address over their first few picks. Signing a veteran RB as insurance behind McCoy would be a smart move especially for the passing game and complex pass blocking schemes but the amount of money it would take to sign a veteran might not fit in with the Eagles plans.
Tiki Barber has announced that he wishes to return to the NFL after a two-year retirement, a divorce and the loss of his NBC job. Westbrook is an option as are a slew of others. It all depends on the CBA which will determine the length of the free agency period this coming summer.
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