Philadelphia Eagles News

After Scare, Westbrook Ready To Play

Throughout his illustrious career, Brian Westbrook has played through all sorts of pain and injuries. His willingness to always fight for the extra yard and to stand in against defenders much bigger than him has led to injuries to his ribs, ankle, abdomen, knee, foot, chest and tricep.

But when Westbrook suffered a concussion after being kneed in the helmet by Washington Redskins' linebacker London Fletcher, it was something Westbrook had never experienced.

"The one thing with that concussion, just laying down on the field, the guys on the team, your friends, your family and coaches, they showed so much concern," Westbrook said. "It scared me but it scared those guys as well. Just talking to them they were saying things like, 'Never do that again, never let that happen to you again.'

"They think about their career the same way I thought about mine when I got up. It was an unfortunate thing. It's tough to go through really."

Of course, Westbrook did not play the following week in the Eagles' 40-17 win over the New York Giants, but, after being cleared by head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder and the medical staff, he was back on the practice field preparing for the Dallas Cowboys.

"I feel pretty good," Westbrook said. "My memory has returned and it really didn't go away, except for that one play. I feel pretty good. The headache is gone, so I'm excited about the opportunity to play again.

"Rick and the other guys on the team that are part of the training staff have done a great job of saying, 'If you're not right, you're not going to play. It doesn't matter whether we need you or not. It doesn't really matter if we are playing Dallas or the Giants.' For me, it's great to have those guys there but it's a learning experience. This could happen to anybody. Unfortunately, it happened to me. Hopefully the position that I put myself in on that play kind of contributed to it a little bit too, so I have to protect myself a little bit better."

Even though Westbrook was shaken up by the experience, he said that once he hits the field, he won't change anything about his playing style.

"I'm concerned about it because I'm concerned about the long term effects of it," he said, "But when you go out there and play football you have to go out there and play worry-free football. You have to go out there and try to play with reckless abandon and go out there and just do the things that you can on the football field."

Prior to suffering the concussion, Westbrook was looking like his old self.

After missing all of the preseason while working back from surgeries on both his ankle and knee, Westbrook showed a little bit of rust in his first few games of the season. But he had 141 total yards on 15 touches against the Oakland Raiders and looked to have re-gained his explosiveness, even in the early going of the Redskins game.

"The carries that (Westbrook) had at Washington," said head coach Andy Reid, "I thought you were seeing the speed, the burst, the timing, his vision looked like it was sharp."

"I felt good," said Westbrook. "My legs felt good, my knee and my ankle felt good. The first couple of runs gave me a little bit of confidence that I could turn the corner and I could make a couple people miss, but then the concussion happened and kind of took the wind out of the sails I guess.

"That's what happens in football games. It's disappointing because you expect so much. You want to go out there and you want to perform. I really did feel good, like I mentioned before, and you know these things happen for a reason. I wish I knew what the reason was sometimes. It was definitely frustrating for me and my family."

So after a tough week, Westbrook is ready to put the scare behind him and immerse himself back into football.

"To be honest with you, I am excited to get to play again," he said. "It really doesn't matter at this point who we are playing against for me. It means a little bit extra because it's Dallas but I just want to be able to go out there and play a football game. I've been watching and it's almost like every week there has been something for me, so for me I just want to go out there and be able to contribute, help this team and play some football again."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:56 p.m., November 4

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