Eric Weddle thought the last game of his career took place on December 29, 2019. The Rams beat the Cardinals 31-24 in that game for a 9-7 record. However, the playoffs were missed and Weddle, then about to turn 35, called it off.
However, two years after that decision, he was given the chance to play again. And the 37-year-old jumped at the chance to join the Rams during their 2022 playoff run.
Weddle signed with the Los Angeles practice squad just before their wild-card round game against the Cardinals. The former All-Pro safety was there to provide the team with depth and experience as they looked for another Super Bowl run under Sean McVay’s watch.
But why did Weddle decide to retire? And why did the Rams decide to sign him? These are the factors that led to Weddle’s unlikely reunion with the Rams during the 2022 NFL playoffs.
Why did Eric Weddle decide to retire?
Weddle came out of retirement because he believes the Rams have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl.
“This doesn’t mean it’s itchy,” Weddle said after joining the team. by SI.com. “It was just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Weddle had been out of the league for almost two years and had never thought about returning to the NFL. by your agent. Before playing the Cardinals in the wild card round, he last played during the Rams’ Week 17 win over the Cardinals to close out the 2019 NFL season.
But when the Rams called and offered the 37-year-old Weddle a chance to play a role on the team right away, he knew he had to take it. He also knew he was ready to play, as he kept fit after his retirement.
“If I didn’t feel like I could go out there and be what I’m expected to be, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Weddle said. “I feel incredible”.
Weddle played 19 snaps defensively against the Cardinals in his first game back, but recorded no tackles or pass defenses. He will continue to operate as a rotating role player as the Rams prepare to face Tom Brady and the Bucs in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Why did the Rams bring Eric Weddle out of retirement?
The Rams signed Weddle because they needed safety depth. They lost starter Jordan Fuller to the playoffs due to an ankle injury, while the team’s other starter, Taylor Rapp, was in concussion protocol before their wild-card game.
Los Angeles had Terrell Burgess and Nick Scott in the job, but they needed another option behind them. And since both Burgess and Scott are young and inexperienced, Sean McVay chose to add a veteran to bring depth and experience to the unit.
Weddle turned out to be a perfect fit, as he knows the system and has a great working relationship with McVay, defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and other members of the Rams roster and staff.
“It’s the familiarity” mvay said. “Some of the things are, perspective, leadership. We are still figuring out what role he will have in the game, but his presence and his presence is really beneficial, not only for me but also for his teammates. Just the respect he has earned throughout his career. So, there were a lot of layers to this, but you’re also going to see a guy who’s taken great care of himself and we’ll see what he looks like.”
Weddle may not have a big role on the field if Rapp returns to action against the Buccaneers, but it looks like his presence in the locker room will provide a huge boost for the Rams as they look to advance to the NFC Championship Game.