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Offseason busy for Chargers' Weddle, a new starter and first-time dad

Discussion in 'American Football' started by boltmanbz, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    By MIKE SULLIVAN - Staff Writer | Wednesday, April 9, 2008 5:17 AM

    Eric Weddle will take on a new responsibility as one of the Chargers' starting safeties in 2008.

    OCEANSIDE ---- Eric Weddle earned a new title earlier this year and is working hard on solidifying another. While becoming the Chargers' new starting safety sounds mighty good to Weddle's ears, nothing brightens his eyes more or brings a smile to his face faster than the title he received three months ago: new father.

    "It's awesome; it's probably the best thing I've been a part of," Weddle said of daughter Brooklyn Marie, who turned 3 months old on Monday. "There are so many accomplishments individually and team-wise. The first was getting married ---- that was the best thing ever. Now having a kid is the most amazing experience, being there involved with it and seeing it. It was probably the coolest thing. Seeing you made this child is amazing."

    The Chargers are hoping for amazing things on the field from Weddle in 2008 as he takes over for the departed Marlon McCree. Weddle fared well in a reserve role last season as a rookie, receiving about half of the first-team snaps at free safety during the campaign's second half.

    Speaking after a recent public appearance at Oceanside's Mission Elementary School, the Escondido resident said he has studied film extensively over the past few months, examining the mistakes he made last season while relishing his upcoming opportunity.

    "I'm excited for the challenge and excited for the opportunity to be out there starting and being out there with the defense," Weddle said. "I haven't been given anything. I still have to go out there and work for it and show the coaches that I'm ready for it, and that's what I'm going to do.

    "I want to show that I'm the guy for this team and for this organization and that I'll be the playmaking safety that they want."

    Making plays has always been a Weddle specialty.

    During his college career at Utah, Weddle intercepted 18 passes, recorded 10 sacks and forced nine fumbles.

    Weddle had one interception during the 2007 regular season, but made his biggest play as a Charger in a playoff victory over Indianapolis. The Colts had reached the Chargers' 4-yard line early in the third quarter before Weddle snuffed out the drive with a nifty one-handed interception while engaged with a Colts blocker.

    That playmaking ability was a prime reason the Chargers gave up three draft picks to swap positions with Chicago and draft Weddle in the second round of last year's draft.

    Some draft experts proclaimed the Chargers gave up too much. Weddle is quick to swat aside their opinions.

    "I really don't care what everybody else thinks," Weddle said. "It's what this team thinks, what this organization thinks and what my family thinks of me as a football player. Time will tell. I expect that it will work out and that the Chargers made the right decision just because I believe in myself."

    The Chargers' other starting safety, Clinton Hart, couldn't be happier that Weddle is his new running mate in the back end of the defense. Hart didn't always see eye-to-eye with McCree, but was impressed with Weddle's intelligence.

    "I can't say enough about the kid," Hart said. "He's the perfect type of player to play with, a young guy that understands the game and is smart. He lets me get into a groove out there. He's flexible. I didn't have that in Marlon McCree. Nothing against Marlon ---- Marlon is a good football player ---- but Eric understands that to be back there with somebody, you've got to be able to work together and let a guy play his game.

    "He's a playmaker. He's going to be a big star in this league."

    First, Weddle will find himself facing the same type of scrutiny Hart endured last season during his first season as the Chargers' starting strong safety.

    "Now all eyes are on Weddle coming into this particular season where all eyes were on Clinton Hart going into '07," general manager A.J. Smith said. "That's the name of the game when you're a new starter and you haven't been around for very long and don't have a lot of years experience."

    The Chargers have a minicamp next month, during which Weddle will take his repetitions with the first-team defense. Afterwards, he will focus his offseason workouts around ensuring he's in position to be a solid contributor on a team expected to make a push for the Super Bowl.

    He'll also be savoring his other important role ---- helping wife Chanel tend to little Brooklyn Marie.

    "It definitely puts you in perspective," a beaming Weddle said. "You can't just go up and do something. You have to put her before yourself all the time, 24 hours a day. That's a little adjustment.

    "But once you get that down and you love a little child so much, it's pretty easy to drop whatever you're doing and help her."

    Contact staff writer Mike Sullivan at (760) 739-6645 or msullivan@nctimes.com.
  2. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    A classy guy and player
    I think he's going to be something special
  3. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Hart calls out McCree for not letting him play his game, lol.
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Congrats to Eric on the new baby!! :tup:

    I'm really excited to see him as a FT starter this year. And I do feel that he'll be a much bigger help to Hart's game than McCree ever was. Weddle has a lot of football smarts & instincts. You can tell that he knows how to put himself in position to make plays.
  5. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    He already is and dude went nuts against the Colts.

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