Westbrook, a standout in high school at DeMatha Catholic (Md.), was one of the top running backs to come out of high school but schools were thwarted by his size.
Westbrook would go on to have a great collegiate career where he became the first player, on any collegiate level, to finish with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in 1998.
Despite being named as an All-American at Villanova, and all of the other accolades that followed, Westbrook still missed one whole season due to a knee injury.
Since putting on the midnight green garb of the NFL franchise in South Philadelphia, Westbrook has had an impact on Sunday’s. Since 2003, Westbrook has totaled at least 945 yards every season, despite missing plenty of time due to numerous injuries (knee, ankle, foot).
Westbrook has been a model of consistency but all good things must come to an end.
On September 2, Westbrook will turn 30 years of age.
He is currently sidelined with an injury and is not expected to be ready to play until September 13 when the 2009 season kicks off for Philadelphia.
The number 30 is significantly detrimental to a running backs psyche, as it has often been reported that age 30 is the age of decline for running backs.
Many running backs view this as more of a fact than superstition. While it may not be the sole reason for his retirement, Barry Sanders left the game at the age of 30.
Whether they left or not, many running backs, especially recently, have seen a large decline in their performance after turning 30 years of age, as reported by FantasyFootballXtreme.
Running backs that seen their numbers dip at the age of 30 include Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, Shaun Alexander, Curtis Martin, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, and Eddie George.
The decline at the age of 30 is often known as the “Eddie George Wall.”
Will Brian Westbrook be the next victim?
Although, it will be a combination of age and injuries that set Westbrook back in 2009, not talent. His skill level will not drop off, after all, he did accumulate 1,338 total yards and 14 scores in 14 games last year.
The addition of running back LeSean McCoy will have an impact on Westbrook’s role and production too.
Westbrook is not the only running back that will enter the season or turn 30 at some point during the season. He is joined by the Chargers’ LaDainian Tomlinson, Chiefs’ Larry Johnson, and Cleveland’s Jamal Lewis.
Ironically, all of the aforementioned running backs are expected to see a downturn in their production this season.
Now, the question is, do we want to see Brian Westbrook gone from the Eagles’ organization if he can no longer produce at the level we have come to expect him to? Yes.
This is a business. Legacies are usually ruined when someone continues to make attempt after attempt to play at a level that has certainly surpassed them.
Westbrook will go down in Eagles history as one of the best, if not the best running back in franchise history.
He is, after all, just 817 rushing yards from leaping both Steve Van Buren & Wilbert Montgomery and becoming the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher. Westbrook also ranks third in franchise history for receiving too.
There is a time and a place to call it quits. If Brian Westbrook does indeed hit the proverbial “Eddie George Wall,” don’t count on the Eagles’ front office to cut him some slack and let him keep his locker at Lincoln Financial Field.
He will get the same treatment at Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, and the others before them.
Brian Westbrook still has four years remaining on the $32 million contract he signed in August 2008 but it is safe money that he will not fulfill the length of the contract in Philadelphia, as it is now.
Philadelphia fans should thank Brian Westbrook for everything, but ‘Good Riddance,’ ‘Good-bye.’