The Eagles have severed ties with RB Brian Westbrook, the team has announced, after a season in which he was plagued by concussions.
Westbrook established himself as one of the best multi-purpose backs in the NFL over the past eight seasons, but two separate concussions and an ailing knee limited him to eight games and 274 rushing yards this season. He had said he planned to play next season despite the concussions.
“Brian is one of the greatest Eagles of all time and he is even a better person and leader,” head coach Andy Reid said on the team’s official Web site. “In my mind, there has not been a more versatile running back that the NFL has seen. I had a conversation with Brian this morning to let him know. This is by far the most difficult part of this job. We wanted to make this move now in order to maximize Brian’s chances of landing with another NFL team.”
Rookie LeSean McCoy stepped in and performed well last season, leading some to believe his emergence could help lead to Westbrook’s release.
Westbrook was due to make $7.25 million next season.
“Brian Westbrook is one of the most electric players in the history of this franchise and is certainly also one of the most popular,” team owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “He was personally one of the my favorite players to watch each and every Sunday and his playmaking abilities, leadership and values will be missed.”
The move happened one day after the Chargers released RB LaDainian Tomlinson, perhaps the best back of his era, and two days after Byron Westbrook, his brother who plays for the Redskins, was charged with DUI.
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.