Former Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle has been officially activated from the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad for Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals, just one month after he came out retirement to join the Rams for their playoff run.
But Weddle’s journey from retired ex-NFLer to Super Bowl starter is even more remarkable considering he will be leading the Rams defense against the potent Bengals offense in Los Angeles.
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris told reporters on Febuary 11 that Weddle would be wearing the green dot for the Rams defense in the Super Bowl, per Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus. That means Weddle will be the Rams defender responsible for calling plays and communicating with coaches on the sideline, a role he later confirmed to Fox Sports’ Eric Williams.
“Our defense will benefit from it,” said Weddle, explaining that he would lead defensive communications and adjustments for the Rams on the field, allowing playmakers like Jalen Ramsay, Aaron Donald and Von Miller to focus on their assignments.
Though Weddle had been out of the NFL for two years before his return to Los Angeles, he’s played like he never retired, seeing the field for more than 50 snaps in the Rams’ last two games. He even led the team with nine tackles against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, proving that he can still flat-out play.
“I was going to play great whether I had [the green dot] or not,” continued Weddle, “Now, as a whole, I feel like everything will be more smooth.”
The 37-year-old safety’s high football I.Q. is a hallmark of his 13-year NFL career and a driving force between the Rams adding him to their practice squad for the playoffs. His ability to read and react to opposing offenses will be vital in countering the dangerous Bengals, led by star quarterback Joe Burrow and rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
“Leave that stuff to me, and we all play fast,” Weddle concluded.
Weddle Expresses Appreciation for Baltimore
Weddle mentioned his time with the Ravens during the build-up to Super Bowl LVI, saying “Baltimore was a great three-year run for me,” per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun.
After feeling unappreciated by the then-San Diego Chargers, Weddle added that Baltimore “brought the love back to my life for football.
“We really made Baltimore home. We love the people, we love the city,” he continued, “Obviously the organization was top-notch.”
Weddle then explained why he felt such a strong connection to the Ravens franchise:
“As a player…you try to do things the right way. And it felt good to be wanted again, honestly, and to be respected. That’s what they gave me. I made some relationships there that will last a lifetime. That’s what this game can bring if you’re willing to open up and give it your all. Shoot, I had [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti shoot me a text just saying how pumped he is that I was back and that he’s pulling for me. That just doesn’t happen at all places. Baltimore is a very special place, from the owner down to everyone in the organization. I have a special place in my heart for them.”
While some Ravens fans will be rooting for the Rams just so the AFC North rival Bengals can’t bring home the Lombardi Trophy, others will be pulling for Los Angeles so Weddle can get his first career Super Bowl ring.
Ex-Ravens Practice Squad DB Elevated for Super Bowl
Former Ravens safety Blake Countess was also elevated from the Rams practice squad for the Super Bowl, per the NFL’s official transaction report.
He’s been active for all three of the Rams’ playoff game so far, playing exclusively special teams.
While Countess is not expected to have a major impact on the game, Ravens fans know firsthand how important special teams can be in the Super Bowl.
In Super Bowl XXXV, Ravens wide receiver Jermaine Lewis returned a kickoff for a touchdown, while Jacoby Jones set a Super Bowl record with a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown.