The Eagles announced today they have released running back Brian Westbrook. Coach Andy Reid had this to say.
"Brian is one of the greatest Eagles of all time and he is even a better person and leader," said head coach Andy Reid. "In my mind, there has not been a more versatile running back that the NFL has seen. I had a conversation with Brian this morning to let him know. This is by far the most difficult part of this job. We wanted to make this move now in order to maximize Brian's chances of landing with another NFL team."
Sad, although not entirely unexpected news. Westbrook was scheduled to make over $7 million next season, which is obviously something no team would considering paying for the level of production he's likely capable of. It's an unfortunate reality of the NFL that Westbrook himself knows well. This is from an interview he did with Dan Rather in recent weeks, he was asked whether he thought he'd be with the team next year.
I’m not sure. That’s one of those things that really is up to them. I’m under contract another year, and I would love to be in Philadelphia. There’s no other team that I would love to play for more than the Philadelphia Eagles. But it’s a situation where in the NFL, younger, cheaper is better for teams. It’s one of those things. It’s part of the business. I experienced it when I was younger, and I experience a different aspect now. You have to try and find out, for the team, what’s better for them.
It's amazing to see both Brian Westbrook and LaDainian Tomlinson released within a day of one another, when just 2 or 3 seasons ago people were debating which of the two was the most dangerous all around back in the game... But that's the life of an NFL running back. Unlike a lot of positions, these guys don't generally have a slow decline.
There's no doubt that we've entered a new era of Eagles football. With Brian Dawkins last year and Brian Westbrook gone this year, two of the best players of the last generation of Eagles are gone. This leaves only Donovan McNabb & David Akers from the 2004 superbowl team(I think MIkell was a special teamer on that squad). We'll have more about Westbrook in the coming days.