After 13 seasons as one of the NFL’s best safeties, Eric Weddle is calling it quits.
The Los Angeles Rams safety announced his decision to retire from the league Thursday afternoon in a Twitter post that thanked his teammates, coaches and supporters over his decorated NFL career, which also included stops with the then-San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.
Weddle played in 210 career games and racked up 1,235 tackles, 30 interceptions, 103 passes defensed, 11.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and five touchdowns. He was selected for the Pro Bowl six times during his career, including all three seasons he played in Baltimore from 2016-18, and earned the distinction of All-Pro in five consecutive seasons for the Chargers — twice as a first-team pick.
Weddle also led the NFL with seven interceptions during the 2011 season in a three-way tie with Green Bay’s Charles Woodson and New England’s Kyle Arrington.
Weddle isn’t the only big name to have announced his NFL retirement this offseason with some of the more notable names including New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechley and Chargers tight end Antonio Gates — who was teammates with Weddle during all the latter’s nine seasons in San Diego.
The Rams now must find a replacement for Weddle’s production after he started all 16 games at free safety last season and was the team’s second-leading tackler with 108.
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Weddle’s Retirement Not Out of Nowhere
Weddle indicated he wasn’t sure about his playing future after the Rams’ 31-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the final week of the regular season, confirming the 34-year-old planned to undergo offseason surgeries on his shoulder and knee after both caused him problems in 2019.
“When I’m out there, I’m 100 percent,” Weddle said via The Los Angeles Times. “But I’ve got some things I need to get fixed before I even remotely think about playing. … We’ll see what happens, but 13 years is a long time.
“Who would have ever thought?”
Weddle signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with the Rams last offseason, but he talked openly near the end of the year about being the odd man out when looking at the future of the team’s safety position. The Rams will expectedly have back John Johnson after a shoulder injury limited him to just six games in 2019, but his absence also created earlier opportunities for rookie Taylor Rapp — who could potentially be ready to slide into a full-time starter role for his second season in 2020.
Rapp was impressive during his NFL debut season, finishing with the Rams’ third-most tackles (99) and second-most passes defensed (8). He also tallied a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery to add some playmaking splash to his rookie numbers. According to Pro Football Focus, Rapp tied for fifth among safeties in defensive stops, tied for eighth in total pass breakouts and finished with the eighth-best tackling grade and 12th most total tackles.
“To see Rapp finish strong brings a smile,” Weddle said, via The Orange Country Register. “The future is bright for the Rams. That’s exciting for me to see and have a hand in.”