Westbrook, a former Heisman finalist from Oklahoma, spent the past four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, learning under his wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. McCardell accepted a position as the Vikings wide receivers coach this offseason and played a pivotal role in getting Westbrook to sign with Minnesota this week.
“Keenan’s like a father figure to me,” Westbrook said, per the Pioneer Press. “I respect him and everything that he’s ever taught me and done for me.”
However, leaving his home over the past four seasons has left Westbrook reflecting on his career and finding new motivation for the future. He wrote a heartfelt message on social media that was well-received by his former and future fan bases.
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‘Humble and Hungry As Ever’
Before he officially signed his contract with the Vikings on Monday, Westbrook had already broken the news of his official departure from Jacksonville for Minnesota on Facebook Sunday night.
He shared two photos: one of him wearing his old Jaguars colors and a fan-edited photo of him in a Vikings jersey.
Here’s the message he wrote along with the photos:
It’s always bittersweet to close one chapter to start a new one. I was drafted as a rookie to Jacksonville, and I’m so grateful for the experience and knowledge I gained during the years I spent with their organization. Now, I am so excited to venture onto this new journey with the Minnesota Vikings. I’m humble and hungry as ever for this upcoming season. I can’t even begin to explain how ready I am to embrace the opportunity in front of me. All thanks be to God. #skol #gocrazy
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Westbrook will wear No. 89 in purple and gold as Chad Beebe currently wears No. 12 for Minnesota.
Westbrook Taking Things Slow at Training Camp
Westbrook, who had fallen among the Jaguars wide receiver ranks, was fourth on the depth chart last season. He saw limited in-game reps before tearing his ACL in October.
Eight months removed from the onset of his injury, Westbrook was limited on the practice field before going inside and working with Minnesota’s strength and condition staff, per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
Cronin reported that Westbrook could move around on punt return at the beginning of practice and noted his reaction to his recovery.
“Man, it was tough. Had to block out all of the noise. Many times I wanted to quit and give up — like I couldn’t do it. It was tough. Had to keep my knee straight. But I stayed focused,” Westbrook said, per Cronin.
It’s unclear when Westbrook will be a full participant at training camp.