Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid
Opening remarks: "This is an exciting day today. Brian Westbrook is retiring as a Philadelphia Eagle and I'll tell you, I've never coached a player as smart as this guy right here. Unbelievable; a tribute to his parents, number one, and to (Villanova head) Coach (Andy) Talley and that Villanova program and education that he received as number two. Nobody loved to play the game like Brian did. I mean, this guy, he could do it all. Obviously, he could run the football but he could catch the football, he could pass protect. You could split him out as a wide receiver. He could play both return games for you. This guy did it all. He'll go down as one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles and obviously by the number of yards that he produced offensively, being the leader in that category, I'm kind of stating the obvious there. But with that, I'd like to introduce Brian Westbrook."
Former Eagles RB Brian Westbrook
Opening remarks: "Thank you. It's a humbling experience being here today in front of friends, family, extended family, and everyone. I'm blessed to be here and I'm thankful to be here. I spent eight good years, eight of the best years of my life in Philadelphia playing for the Eagles. It was, and still is, a great organization. I have to thank Mr. and Mrs. Lurie, Coach Reid and your family as well. You guys have opened your arms to me in a way that I truly appreciate and am thankful for. (Head athletic trainer) Rick Burkholder and his family, and the whole training staff. We spent a lot of time together. Those times were well worth it, and I thank you guys as well. (Assistant athletic trainer) Chris Peduzzi. My running backs coach Ted Williams – the experience and the stories that I have learned during our time spent together is invaluable. You can't put a number on it, and it doesn't add up into yards, add up to receptions, but it adds up in life. I really appreciate that, and thank you to your family as well. Marty Mornhinweg, a great offensive coordinator and a great offensive mind, but an even better man. I appreciate everything that you have done for me. I'm probably going to leave some people out, but I'm just going to go ahead and say some other guys: (director of football media services) Derek Boyko and his staff, the equipment staff, the lunch staff, all of the guys in the cafeteria – I truly appreciate it. Every man, woman, and child who has worked in this facility – it has been a great opportunity to work with you guys and it's been a blessing. We have accomplished so much in the time that we were here. I'm truly thankful for it. I also have to thank (players' assistant) Karen Gerstle. She's been like a second mom to me the whole entire time I was here, and even when I left. Thank you, Karen.
"To my family, you guys have supported my entire career through middle school, elementary, high school, college – the ups and the downs, the good days and the bad days. I thank you for those moments. There are really no words that I can use to express my sincere thanks and gratitude for you guys. It means the world. We spend a lot of time together, maybe too much, but thank you. My mother and my father, the same passion and the same presence for the game that I share has come from you guys. Thank you for being there every single game, except when we played the Redskins and Byron (Westbrook), when he played away. Thank you for that opportunity, and showing all of those things to me – how to play the game, the discipline and the hard work to be successful. I wouldn't be here without you. To my brothers, Byron, Lonnie, Matt, G., and Shawn, who is not here today, you're the best friends a guy can ever ask for. I wouldn't be able to be where I am at today without your guidance and support, thank you. My cousins, my aunts and grandmothers, my extended family, Deb as well, we've accomplished a lot together and the same with everyone else here. I appreciate all of your help along the way.
"I took this note from Coach Reid so I wrote everything down. When I got to Villanova I expanded my support system. (Villanova University head) coach (Andy) Talley opened his doors and welcomed me with open arms. I truly appreciate that. (Assistant head) coach Mark Ferrante, (former running backs coach) Stan Drayton, (offensive coordinator) Sam Venuto, (director of athletics) Vince Nicastro, (and associate athletic director) Dean (Kenefick), thank you so much for always being there for me. I call these guys today and they'll open their doors and open their arms to me. (Athletics secretary) Joan (McGurkin) and (Athletics Business Assistant) Rosemary (Mazzotta), our secretaries, thank you for being there every step of the way.
"I played with so many great players throughout my career here. I am just going to name a few and acknowledge a few that have kind of been there for me. To begin with, (special teams quality control coach) Duce (Staley), (former running back Correll Buckhalter), (former running back Brian Mitchell), (and former running back) Dorsey Levins. You guys were there at the beginning and your guidance throughout my career has meant so much to me. I know that without your patience and your ability to show me the right way to do things, I wouldn't be here today. (Former safety Brian Dawkins), you're one of my favorite players (and) one of the best players that I've ever seen play the game but even a better man. A man that was able to guide me throughout the way, throughout life, the ups and downs, (and) I thank him for all of the support and all of the things he was able to do for me. (Former quarterback) Donovan (McNabb), a great friend. A guy that was there before my NFL career and a guy that is still there today. He called me yesterday and said, 'Just represent (and) do what we always do.' I am thankful for that. He was the best quarterback the city of Philadelphia has ever seen. There are so many other guys I want to name and I'll just go through quickly. The younger guys, (running back) LeSean McCoy, (wide receiver) DeSean Jackson, (wide receiver) Jeremy Maclin, (wide receiver) Jason Avant, and (former Eagles fullback) Thomas Tapeh. Guys that I've played with that have been the heart and soul of this football team. Sometimes they get enough recognition and sometimes they don't but I feel you brothers and I thank you for always being there for me. There are so many other players who have supported me and helped me get to this point in my career. Our offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, who is now the defensive coordinator. Thank you. All of those yards are on the backs of your guys that you coached every single day. It means something.
"To the Eagles fans, thank you for all of the memories. You're the best fans in the world and I hope the passion that I played with on the field and how I carried myself off of the field represented you guys well and made you guys proud. Thank you for all of the cheers, the love, (and) the support through the ups and downs of my career. We had a lot of good times and I appreciate that.
"Lastly, when I think of myself, I think of Brian Westbrook from Fort Washington, Maryland to DeMatha (Catholic High School) injuries, to Villanova injuries, (and) to Philadelphia injuries. All of the good days (and) all of the bad days. A third round pick who was too small, who would only be a special teams player, to an All-Pro, to a two-time Pro Bowl selection, (and) to the franchise leader in total yards from scrimmage. It's been a great ride and I thank all of you people and everyone that has been here with me every step of the way. Thank you."
On what one moment or one play reverberates in his memory as the greatest: "It's hard to pick one. The one that sticks out, the first thing when you asked the question, is the play at the Giants and really, (Merrill Reese's) call kind of is the sound and the voice that I hear in my head. It's one of those things where it's a total team play. Guys rushed the punter; made him kick a bad kick. One of the best punters in the league, they made him just kick a bad ball and I was able to catch the ball off the hop. It was actually 10 guys, and it's rare that this happens; it was 10 guys blocking. I made a couple people miss here and there, but 10 guys blocking. Ike Reese, his 'block in the back' as I like to call it; guys just doing their job and that was really my whole career. My success is built solely on the shoulders of guys just doing their job and I'm appreciative for that."
On whether he could ever envision having this much success and being at this point in his career after his high school career: "You know, I couldn't have imagined it then. I tore my ACL my senior year and it's hampered me my whole entire football career, but in the same way that it's kind of held me back, it's been a blessing as well. It told me the value of hard work, discipline, how to do things the right way and so when I was there, I just was focused on being the best player that I could be and I tried to focus on that my entire career. I've been blessed. I've been lucky. I came to a good organization and a good coaching staff that knew how to use me the right way. I learned so much at Villanova; how to catch the ball, how the run the ball, how to be an effective blocker. Every step of the way has been a blessing. I've learned so much every step of the way. I'm just thankful."
On how important it had been for several former players to retire as a Philadelphia Eagles: "It's very important. I went out to San Francisco and you hear so many guys before me say it, that the Eagles is the best organization in the NFL. When you hear it, you're like, 'Okay, yeah, yeah. I believe you.' But when you go somewhere else, you actually see that this is the best organization in the NFL, the best coaching staff and I mean that. I'm not just saying it. I've been on the other side and I've seen how things are done differently and just the way that Coach Reid, Mr. Lurie, Mrs. Lurie handle things here, provide for the players, is special. I'm just really appreciative and humbled by the experience here."
On Villanova head coach Andy Talley describing him as legendary and what that means to him: "I've put in a lot of hard work, a lot of long days to get to the point where I'm at. To be described as that is humbling. I'm thankful. I've done a lot of good things and I've just been blessed to be around the right people at the right time, the right teammates to put me in the right position and for people to describe me as that is just a blessing. It makes me feel very, very humbled. I'm just happy."