Eric Weddle played 201 regular-season games over 13 NFL seasons and knew he retired two years ago with a hole in his resume.
The six-time Pro Bowl safety never considered there would be a chance to patch it up. But after recently coming out of retirement to play for the Los Angeles Rams, Weddle has a surprise chance to earn a Super Bowl ring on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“This has been a whirlwind the past few weeks,” the 37-year-old Weddle said during Monday’s media availability. “To be on the cusp of something that was missing from my life from a football standpoint is unbelievable.”
Weddle played for Los Angeles in 2019 and Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris contacted him four weeks ago to gauge if he was in shape after being out of the game for two years. The team had sustained injuries in the secondary and was interested in adding someone familiar with their system.
Weddle decided on the night of Jan. 11 that he would accept the challenge.
“The initial shock of it all — that Tuesday night, deciding I was really going to do it,” Weddle said of the process. “I love the game. It brought such joy to my life. Did I want to come back? No. Did I reach out to teams? I did not. I was happy with my new life.
“It was just a fortunate turn of events. But did I thought this would happen? Never.”
Weddle got back into the flow quickly. He led the Rams with nine tackles in the NFC title game win over the San Francisco 49ers.
And now the player who also spent nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers and three with the Baltimore Ravens is looking forward to one last hurrah on the football field.
“It’s not really so surreal in this moment,” Weddle said. “There is a job to be done and the job isn’t finished. Outside of that, nothing else matters.
“All that matters is playing great on Sunday and hoisting that trophy. Until that, the job’s not finished.”
–Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is in a unique position this week. The four-time Pro Bowl selection spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Bengals and the last five with the Rams.
“It’s a real special week for me to be playing a franchise I invested so much time in for 11 years,” the 40-year-old Whitworth said of the situation. “Not only that, but a city that my family and I were invested in and being part of the community.
“For me, this week couldn’t be more special to have both franchises we put our hearts and souls in to be playing each other in the Super Bowl. It is unbelievable. It’s hard to put into words how cool it is.”
Whitworth started 164 of 168 games played with Cincinnati and has started in all 71 of his appearances with the Rams.
–The Rams are holding out hope that tight end Tyler Higbee (sprained knee) can play after being injured against San Francisco. Coach Sean McVay said it is unlikely that Higbee will practice this week.
“He’s been such a big part of this team,” McVay said. “He’s one of those glue guys on this team. I know he will do everything in his power (to try and play).”
McVay said running back Darrell Henderson Jr. (knee), cornerback Robert Rochell (chest) and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day (pectoral) should all be available. McVay said the team is taking a wait-and-see approach with offensive lineman Joe Noteboom (chest).
–Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is aware that expectations around the Los Angeles sports scene call for championships.
The Lakers and Dodgers both won titles in 2020. So if NBA and MLB teams can get it done, Ramsey thinks it is time for the Rams to add their own banner.
“I guess you could say it has been an extra motivating factor,” Ramsey said. “The Dodgers did it, the Lakers did it and we can do it as well.”
–Field Level Media