Andy Reid hit it on the head today when he said a few words about former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook before introducing him.
“I’ve never coached a player as smart as this guy right here”, Reid said. “Unbelievable; a tribute to his parents, number one, and to [Villanova head] Coach [Andy] Talley and that Villanova program and education that he received as number two. Nobody loved to play the game like Brian did. I mean, this guy, he could do it all. Obviously, he could run the football but he could catch the football, he could pass protect. You could split him out as a wide receiver. He could play both return games for you. This guy did it all.”
Westbrook had a tremendously high football acumen. He understood the game and he felt the game. The running back would run routes like he played wide receiver all his life.
His understanding of the game was so good that many times you could see him wince when he knew Donovan McNabb had made a mental mistake with a call or read.
The running back should have been put in charge of calling timeouts at the right time because he could have handled it. He could be a great coach if he were to choose that route, but it looks like he’s going to try his hand in media, where I’m sure he’ll do very well because of his football intelligence.
He thanked all of his coaches, family, and of course his teammates, starting with the veteran running backs.
“I played with so many great players throughout my career here”, Westbrook said. “I am just going to name a few and acknowledge a few that have kind of been there for me. To begin with, [special teams quality control coach] Duce [Staley], [former running back Correll Buckhalter], [former running back Brian Mitchell], [and former running back] Dorsey Levins. You guys were there at the beginning and your guidance throughout my career has meant so much to me. I know that without your patience and your ability to show me the right way to do things, I wouldn’t be here today.
He had to thank “Dawk”.
[Former safety Brian Dawkins], you’re one of my favorite players [and] one of the best players that I’ve ever seen play the game but even a better man”, Westbrook said. “A man that was able to guide me throughout the way, throughout life, the ups and downs, [and] I thank him for all of the support and all of the things he was able to do for me.
Next up was Donovan.
[Former quarterback] Donovan [McNabb], a great friend”, Westbrook said. “A guy that was there before my NFL career and a guy that is still there today. He called me yesterday and said, ‘Just represent [and] do what we always do.’ I am thankful for that. He was the best quarterback the city of Philadelphia has ever seen.”
He went through the guys whom he played with on the current team.
There are so many other guys I want to name and I’ll just go through quickly”, the running back said. “The younger guys, [running back] LeSean McCoy, [wide receiver] DeSean Jackson, [wide receiver] Jeremy Maclin, [wide receiver] Jason Avant, and [former Eagles fullback] Thomas Tapeh. Guys that I’ve played with that have been the heart and soul of this football team. Sometimes they get enough recognition and sometimes they don’t but I feel you brothers and I thank you for always being there for me. There are so many other players who have supported me and helped me get to this point in my career.
He didn’t forget to thank Juan.
“Our offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, who is now the defensive coordinator”, Westbrook said. “Thank you. All of those yards are on the backs of your guys that you coached every single day. It means something.”