Sunday, April 11, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles Fan Goodbye to Brian Westbrook

I am a dedicated Philadelphia Eagles fan and have been as long as I can remember. I support the team, the coaches, and the players. Last year in 2009 it was very sad to see one of the greatest players in not only Eagles history, but also NFL history, leave to another team. That player was #20 Brian Dawkins. He is one of the best defensive players to put on midnight green. As an Eagles fan that was hard to see Dawkins go to the Denver Bronco's. Most fans have certain players they wish to see stay on the same team until the retire and Dawkins was one of those for me and so was Brian Westbrook.If you look back since around 2002 when Westbrook joined the Eagles you will see that he was one of the main components of the Eagles in running, blocking, and receiving. I have loved to watch Westbrook and McNabb work together picking apart defenses. If you look at the stats on paper they don't justify how great Westbrook really was for the Eagles in his years there. When the team needed to get down the field you could rely on Westbrook to run, block, and catch his way down the field. Westbrook attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. As a junior he was a first team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference selection and an All-State honorable Mention selection. In his senior year he was a first team All-League selection, a first team All-Prince George's County selection, and All-State Honorable Mention selection. Westbrook then went on to play college football at Villanova University from 1997-2001. Westbrook holds the all-time NCAA record with 9,512 all-purpose yards, breaking the 9,301 yards by Brian Shay of Emporia State University. He played 46 career games where he scored 542 points with 84 touchdowns. Westbrook carried the ball a total of 725 times for 4,298 yards with an average of 6.2 per carry. He caught 219 passes for 2,582 yards for an average of 11.79 per catch. He gained 2,289 yards and 4 touchdowns on kickoff returns. As a senior, he earned 2,823 combined net yards and scored 29 touchdowns. Though his career at Villanova Westbrook earned 41 Villanova, 13 Atlantic Ten Conference, and 5 NCAA Records. So a total of 59 college football records belong to Brian Westbrook.Westbrook became the only player in I-AA history to score 160 or more points twice in a career and the first player in the history of college football at any level with 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in one season in 1998. He is one of only two players in Villanova history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season and he accomplished that feat three times. He was a consensus All-America and 2 time A-10 offensive player of the year and was the 2001 recipient of the Walter Payton Award. Even though Westbrook had such an amazing college career at Villanova, NFL teams were still hesitant to draft him in the 2002 NFL Draft. The 3 main reasons were: his small size of only 5'8 and 200lbs. His knee injury that forced him to miss an entire college season. The third reason was because he did not play for a NCAA Division I-A school. Despite all of those worries Eagles head coach Andy Reid drafted Brian Westbrook in the 2002 NFL Draft during the third round at pick 91.During his rookie season in 2002 Westbrook saw limited action, but he did throw a touchdown pass to WR Todd Pinkston on a trick play in September 2002 vs the rival Dallas Cowboys, where the Eagles won. Westbrook made an impact in the 2003 season with a 4th quarter punt return for a touchdown to defeat the rival New York Giants 14-10 on October 19, 2003. The Eagles made the NFC Championship Game that season. Westbrook missed the playoffs that year after he tore his triceps miscle in the final game of the season vs rival Washington Redskins. He scored 11 touchdowns by ground and air that season.Westbrook became the starter in 2004 after Duce Staley left and Correll Buckhalter suffered an injury. He rushed for 821 yards. He lead all NFL running backs in receiving with a total of 73 receptions for 703 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. The Eagles ended the 2004 season with a record of 13-3 with the help of Brian Westbrook. He showed that year he was and would continue to be a risk for any defense they would face. The Eagles made the Super Bowl and lost the the New England Patriots by 3. Westbrook rushed for 44 yards, caught 7 passes for 60 yards, and scored 1 touchdown. He was also added to his first career Pro Bowl that year.In November of 2005 Westbrook and the Eagles signed a five-year contract extension, after holding out of training camp and months of negotiations. Westbrook had over 1,200 yards rushing and receiving before it was announced on December 6, 2005 that he would miss the rest of the 2005 season due to a foot injury he suffered during a 42-0 beat down on Monday Night Football to the Seattle Seahawks. In 2006 when QB McNabb went down on Novemeber 19, 2006 and was replaced by Jeff Garcia Westbrook stepped up and become the star of the Eagles offense. On the date of November 26, 2006 Westbrook became the first Eagle to rush for over 100 yards in three straight games since Wilbert Montgomery did 25 years earlier! Westbrook set a career high in rushing yards with a total of 1,217 and topped the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his NFL career. He also had 77 receptions for a total of 699 receiving yards. He had 11 total touchdowns, 7 rushing and 4 receiving. On January 7, 2007 he set a career-postseason rushing record when he rushed for 141 yards on 29 carries vs the New York Giants, which included a 49 yard touchdown. The next week vs the New Orleans Saints Westbrook scored 2 touchdowns.At the start of the 2007 season Westbrook proved he was one of the top backs in the league. Over 100 yards rushing and receiving combined in 12 of the 15 games he played. He had 1,333 rushing yards which was a new career high and he had 2,104 yards from scrimmage which led the NFL. Westbrook was named to his second Pro Bowl and first All-Pro team and also set an Eagles franchise record with 90 receptions.Westbrook signed a 5 year deal worth $32 million on August 8, 2008 with the possibility of earning another $3 million after the first 3 seasons of incentives are met. On September 15, 2008 in a MNF loss to rival Dallass Cowboys, Westbrook caught one touchdown and rushed for two! That made him only the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 30 and catch 25 touchdowns in his career. Against the Atlanta Falcons on October 26, 2008 coming back from a rib and ankle injury, Westbrook recorded a career hight 167 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries and 42 yards from 6 receptions. Then week 13 of that season Westbrook scored 2 receiving and 2 rushing touchdowns with 100+ yards, the first time since 1975!!Entering the 2009 season Westbrook recovered from the injuries he had in 2008. He ended up only starting 7 games in 2009 due to new injuries suffered. In week 7 Westbrook suffered a concussion and did not return until week 10 and he suffered another concussion. So with 2 concussion's within just a few weeks Westbrook would miss most of the remaining games and only played a little bit during the 2 losses to Dallas to close off the season. If not for the Eagles drafting McCoy who knows what Philly would have done in 2009 in the running game.Then on March 5, 2010 the Eagles released Brian Westbrook (2002-2009) letting go of one of the greatest players to ever put on an Eagles jersey in the NFL. Some career highlights: 1 time All-Pro selection in 2007. He was a 2 time Pro Bowl selection in 2004 and 2007. Part of the Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary Team. NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 13 of the 2008 season.Brian Westbrook ended his Eagles career with 1,308 rushing attempts (12.2 per game) for 5,995 rushing yards (56 per game) with an average of 4.6 per carry and 37 rushing touchdowns. Westbrook's longest rushing touchdown was for 71 yards. He had 43 total 20+ yard runs and 4 total 40+ runs. Westbrook had 426 receptions for 3,790 receiving yards (35.4 per game) and 8.9 per reception with 29 receiving touchdowns. He had 40 total 20+ receptions and 10 total 40+ receptions. Also 298 rushing first downs and 164 receiving first downs, for a total of 462 first downs. He finished with a total of 9,785 rushing+receiving yards and 66 rushing+receiving yards. All of this within 107 total games. Just short of the 10,000 total yard mark.I would like to give a proper goodbye to Westbrook from a true Eagles and true Westbrook fan. I wish him the best to which ever team he moves on to and would like to say thank you Brian Westbrook for all the great plays and things you've done on and off the field as an Eagle. Westbrook is one of the main reasons I have been such a dedicated Eagles fan and I still have my stitched Brian Westbrook #36 Philadelphia Eagles jersey. I would like to one day see Brian Westbrook on the coaching staff of the Philadelphia Eagles.


I attempted to post this article on AC, but the claimed I was stealing from another writer on there, from an article I have never read. They claim that the statistics and career info I point out is copying from another blogger, when in all reality that information is on every website, for example wiki. They need to cool down on their guidelines..