Strong bonds developed during Eric Weddle’s three seasons playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
He loved his teammates and coaches, and an organization that helped him rejuvenate his career and treated his family extremely well.
Those ties are apparently so solid, the Rams safety would not think of breaking them by divulging trade secrets as his new team prepares to play the Ravens on Monday night.
“What kind of man would I be if I just turned my back on all of them?” Weddle said Wednesday after practice. “I could tell [Rams coaches] a lot of stuff, but that’s just not who I am.
“So we’re going to play it on the field and the best team is going to win.”
The Ravens are perhaps the NFL’s hottest team. They are 8-2 and have won six games in a row behind quarterback Lamar Jackson, a second-year pro who is among the front-runners for NFL most valuable player.
The Rams are 6-4 and coming off a victory over the Chicago Bears that kept them in contention for a playoff spot.
Weddle, a 13-year pro, signed with the Rams in March after the Ravens released him in a cost-cutting move. Weddle’s two-year deal includes $5.2 million in guarantees, according to ovethecap.com.
Weddle is the signal-caller for a defense that has been mostly stout in the four games since lockdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey arrived in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Weddle is looking forward to playing against his former teammates.
“It will be good to see all the guys that are my dogs,” he said. “Just find a way to win and going against, in my opinion, the best team in the league the way they’re playing.”
Weddle, 34, played his first nine NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers. He became an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season and signed with the Ravens.
In 2018, the Ravens led the league in total defense. Weddle was selected to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time.
On Wednesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh recalled Weddle’s enthusiasm during early-morning team workouts.
“You can hear him coming in the room, that’s for sure,” Harbaugh said during a teleconference. “He’ll let you know. I think he kind of jump-started us all that way.”
Weddle has 72 tackles for the Rams.
“I don’t think he’s skipped a beat one bit there,” Harbaugh said, “and I can see where his leadership and his playing style has made a big impact on the Rams.”
Ravens safety Chuck Clark told reporters in Baltimore that he learned from playing behind Weddle the two previous seasons, and that Weddle still checks in.
On Oct. 13, for example, the Ravens came off the field after a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams were getting ready for their game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Clark saw a text from Weddle.
“I’m like, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be getting ready for the game or something?’ ” Clark said. “But yes, he’s one of those type of guys, a guy that’s going to give you shout-outs and give you your props, definitely.”
Since the start of training camp, Rams players and coaches have lauded Weddle for his knowledge, play and leadership.
Coach Sean McVay said Wednesday that he picks Weddle’s brain about football in a general sense but would refrain from specifics about the Ravens.
“It’s totally at each person’s individual approach and I think with his reasoning it’s a small demonstration of why he’s a special guy,” McVay said. “But we’ll talk some ball and we’ve talked before.”
Then, with a mischievous grin, McVay added: “Maybe I already asked those questions in the free agent visit. He just didn’t realize it.”
Receiver Robert Woods was not at practice as he continues to deal with what McVay described as “family matters.” McVay did not give a timetable for Woods’ return. “Family stuff always comes first — that’s our priority,” he said. “That’s what he’s taking care of and we’ll worry about the football stuff a little bit later.” Woods is a player who would not need a full week of practice to play in a game, McVay said. ... Receiver Brandin Cooks will play against the Ravens after sitting out the last two games whole recovering from his second concussion of the season, McVay said.