After 13 NFL seasons, his final one with the Rams, six-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle on Thursday announced his retirement.
Weddle, 35, played nine seasons for the Chargers, three for the Baltimore Ravens and one for the Rams. He intercepted 30 passes, including one in the playoffs, and scored four touchdowns.
Weddle tweeted his announcement from his handle, @weddlesbeard.
“It’s been REAL @NFL @Chargers @Ravens @RamsNFL ! TEAMMATES, COACHES and others I LOVE y’all. We had a GREAT RUN!!!!! #BEARDOUT,” Weddle posted, adding the emoji of a microphone at the end.
Last March, the Rams signed Weddle to a two-year, $11.5-million contract that included $5.2 million in guarantees —with a $1,000,001 option bonus for 2020 that would have been due by the end of 2019 league year in March, according to overthecap.com.
The Rams added Weddle, a defensive signal-caller, and veteran linebacker Clay Matthews with plans to return to the Super Bowl. The Rams finished a disappointing season with a 9-7 record, however, and missed the playoffs for the first time in coach Sean McVay’s three seasons.
Weddle’s retirement was not a complete surprise. In the latter part of the season, he hinted several times that the finale against the Arizona Cardinals could be his last game. His eyes welled when he spoke about missing his wife and children and the opportunity to spend more time with them.
“Nothing is set in stone but it’s been a great run,” he said. “No regrets, baby.”
After the victory over the Cardinals, Weddle said he would have knee and shoulder surgeries, and consider his future in an organization that features safeties John Johnson and Taylor Rapp.
Johnson, one of the NFL’s top young players at his position, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 13, but is scheduled to return for the upcoming season. Rapp, a second-round pick in in the 2019 draft, moved into the starting lineup and mostly played well. Weddle had said he would not be surprised if the Rams opted to move on without him.
His retirement announcement elicited an outpouring of response on social media from around the NFL, including Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who tweeted “LEGEND.”
Weddle, 5-11 and 195 pounds, played at Rancho Cucamonga Alta Loma High and in college at Utah. The Chargers selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft with the 37th overall pick.
Weddle starred for Chargers teams that made the playoffs in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2013.
He signed with the Ravens in 2016, making the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons. In 2018, Weddle helped the Ravens reach the playoffs, where they lost to the Chargers in an AFC wild-card game.
The Ravens released Weddle after the 2018 season. The Rams initially were scheduled to be the last team to speak with him about signing a free-agent contract, but the Rams had pushed to be the first and convinced Weddle to join them.
“This is really a great opportunity for myself to continue my dream,” Weddle said during an introductory news conference.
General manager Les Snead said at the time that Weddle’s value went beyond the field.
“He definitely helps the Rams now but I do think when he does decide to move to the next chapter in life all of our young players on defense, and offense, will be better for him being a Ram,” Snead said.
That appeared to be the case Thursday.
“E DUBBBB!!!! Hell of a career,” tweeted Johnson. “This is the standard. Wish things went differently this season but I appreciate what you’ve done for me and @RamsNFL Enjoy retirement, Turkey.”