So—the harsh realities of player career mortality and the NFL's business side have struck again. A couple of the most beloved players of two different franchises have been unceremoniously released less than 24 hours apart.
First, LaDainian Tomlinson was released by the San Diego Chargers on Monday. Then, before Philly fans could spend too much time wondering how Bolts fans might be feeling, the Eagles followed suit with a similar announcement about Brian Westbrook.
For most every Eagles fan, even if they saw it coming, yesterday was still a very sad day. Westbrook has been a class act and surely one of the most electrifying and accomplished players who has ever worn an Eagles uniform.
In the space of one year, Birds fans have seen two of the team's all-time greats and most popular players walk out the door. Last February, of course, it was Brian Dawkins trading in his midnight green attire for orange and blue. And now it is Westbrook who is leaving with destination unknown.
Twelve months later, the wounds of Dawkins' exit have yet to heal, especially since they have been frequently brushed open by seeing him continue to flourish in Denver while the obvious void left behind was painfully exposed.
Although the circumstances are different, Philly faithful will surely feel a similar emptiness as their team takes the field when the curtain goes up on next year's NFL season and "Westy" is nowhere to be found.
On the left coast, Chargers fans must be feeling much the same way as they wave goodbye to the best running back in its team history—by a long shot. LT is also one of the most accomplished players in NFL history as well, currently standing third all-time in touchdowns behind Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, and eighth in rushing with 12,490 yards.
Both running backs share many similarities, which will surely be scrutinized around the league as personnel departments evaluate whether each might be a worthy addition to their own club.
The market for 30+ year old players at their position has historically been limited.
If, and where, each player lands with another club will be highly dependent upon individual circumstances, assessment of physical condition, finances, and personal preference.
The following is a breakdown to assess the situation and perhaps get a glimpse of what the future might hold for these two.