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Philadelphia Eagles News

Fullback Leonard Weaver

Opening Remarks: "I guess before I do anything, I just want to give honor to God for this opportunity. This blessing, great blessing, to be able to have some stability here in Philadelphia. I want to thank my mother and father for their support, my children who have been there since day one and I also want to give a big thank you to coach Andy Reid, (General Manager) Howie Roseman and obviously the owner, Jeff Lurie. Those guys did a great job in putting this together and giving me this great opportunity. It's a blessing to be here. So, I guess now I'll go ahead and take some questions."

On whether he had any concern last night after he was tendered by the team: "Yeah, I was a little concerned about it because anytime you express how you want to continue with the team or you're happy where you are, it seems like things don't tend to work out for that particular situation. It was one of those things where I was adamant about being here and I was willing to do kind of whatever in a sense to be here and things worked out perfectly."

On whether the three-year contract is an indication that he proved himself this past season: "I think today is but it's also an indication that work still needs to be done. I'm looking at it just like that. It's a great opportunity, obviously, to have this stability I've been looking for, for quite some time. But it's also an indication to me that the work hasn't been done and it's not fulfilled yet and we still need to continue to work hard."

On whether he felt like he gave in a little bit more on the bargaining table in the end: "I think we both got to the point where we came to equal terms. I think it got to the point where I felt like I was giving in and they felt like they were giving in. It was just one of those things where, you know what, we're at the same place; let's agree to this thing. I think it worked out perfectly and, like I said, I thank God for this opportunity and obviously I've expressed to the organization time and time again - not only during the season but throughout the season - that this is a place that I love; the fans. I mean, what better place can you play than Philadelphia where the fans are all for you? They'll tell you like it is, they're hard workers, it's been a blessing."

On whether he thought he was going to return: "I didn't know really what was going to happen. I knew that once the season was over that we were going to engage in talks and negotiations, but I didn't have a clue what was going to happen at that particular point."

On when he realized last season that he wanted to return: "I would have to say after that first opening night, the first opening week. Then we played home which was after the Carolina game, we played the Saints, and I got to experience the Philadelphia wrath of the fans; the beauty and the upside. I think I missed a touchdown pass that game. I kind of got the boos and everything but after that, I made a couple good catches and they kind of cheered me on. So, I kind of felt love after that; after that point, I knew. As the season progressed, as fans and the people in this organization, the high-character people that Andy and Jeff Lurie bring in, just showed itself even more. It made me even more attached to the guys here and the fans."

On whether he considered QB Donovan McNabb's return to the team when signing: "It wasn't a part of the signing, but it was something that I definitely thought about. I made comments throughout the newspapers and on the radio that he and (Brian) Westbrook were huge reasons why I came here; of course the winning tradition, as well. It's been a blessing and I truly believe that Donovan will be back and, if he isn't, life continues to go on in this league. You continue to move on and whatever they decide to do at that particular point with Donovan, I'm going to be okay with."

On whether he and his agent received any calls from other teams before re-signing: "We fielded a few calls. I won't mention any teams or anything, but we received a few calls. The thing that I told my agent was 'Philly is the place that I want to be.' That's the bottom line. Teams submitted their deals, but I wanted to wait on Philly. This is where my heart was set and where I wanted to be."

On whether he will have the same attitude going into this season: "It is definitely the same; it doesn't change. My attitude right now is, now I have to improve. What happens now is people want to expect more of you. With more money, obviously, people will say more responsibility. My thing is, I'm expecting more of myself this year and I'm preparing that same way. 'You know what, nobody really respects you; it doesn't matter what you do, you're still that one free agent guy.' I'm going to keep it that way."

On whether he looks at himself as more of a running back than a fullback: "No, I look at myself definitely as a tweener; we call it the halfback, that's the new name that we have out there. I definitely look at myself as a fullback who's very versatile, who can run the ball, also run block as well as on third down be able to pass-pro and protect Donovan and catch the ball out the backfield. That's kind of where I pride myself."

On whether he was happy with how he was utilized last year: "Yeah, I really enjoyed it; I got the best of both worlds. I was able to play fullback and then run block as well. We had some key games that we won when (LeSean) Shady (McCoy) scored some touchdowns and I happened to be involved in it. And I'll tell you what, to be able to carry the ball as well and have Andy trust me in that position, it was great. So, yeah, I definitely look forward to the opportunity again."

On being a restricted free agent this year compared to being unrestricted a season ago: "It was very strange because it poses a lot of issues up the road. It poses the issue of, instead of being free in four years, now you have to wait six years. Financially, you look at your family and how can you take care of them. So, it did pose a little bit of a problem, but it's one of those things that when I came into this deal I knew it would happen and I just accepted the fact that, hey, you can't change it because the C.B.A. rules are what they are."

On how far this team is from contending for a Super Bowl title: "We're not far at all. We have the talent on offense, we have the talent on defense. This is one of the things that we've talked about even throughout the year and this is actually one of the reasons why I came. This team is in the playoffs every single year. If they're not competing for an NFC championship or a Super Bowl, they're in the first or second round every year. That's something that's very important and dear to me because that means we're winning games; that means a lot. I'll tell you, it also means a lot to guys such as (offensive line coach) Juan Castillo who's doing a great job with the offensive line, who did a great job in helping me achieve my success this year. I'd like to give those guys a big shout out because that offensive line, I'm looking forward to those new guys coming in and the old guys that are here, those guys are doing a tremendous job. On defense, with our linebackers and d-line and all those guys, the secondary coming back, it's going to be a great thing to look at."

On the "new guys" coming in: "Well, I'm pretty sure there are going to be some guys coming in from free agency, of course. Young talent coming in from the draft, whoever they may be, I'm pretty sure they'll be here; they're here every year. You have young guys that come in every year and they're going to be new. I'll tell you what, it's going to be a blessing."

On whether he has any "juicy names" in terms of new players: "No, I don't have any juicy names at all. You know what, I'm concerned about the Leonard Weaver deal right now. So, that's where I am."

On reportedly being the highest-paid fullback in NFL history: "That speaks volumes. To have the title of being the highest-paid fullback in NFL history says a lot. It says a lot, not only about your peers and the organization who allowed this contract to come to (fruition), but it speaks of all the years and all the people who have helped me through the years achieve the success. It started in Seattle and when (former Seahawks coach) Mike Holmgren opened the door for me. Scott Mitchell taking me under his wing in Seattle and eventually coming here under Andy Reid and Ted Williams. So, it's been awesome."

On his program in Camden, NJ: "It's called Weaver's Workerz. Weaver's Workerz is a program that I do in Camden (New Jersey) and I go to Bonsall Family School and I mentor a group of 25 kids, young men. I teach reading and writing curriculum as well as character-based essential curriculum as well. I go in every Tuesday on my day off and I actually teach. I go in at eight and I leave about four, five o'clock. It's an awesome program, it's thriving very well."

On what would happen if Reid wanted to schedule practice on Tuesday: "We had a day like that. Actually we were in the playoffs, the week we lost to Dallas the first time, we had to play them in the playoffs again. What we had to was change the schedule around. So, instead of doing a Tuesday we knew we had Monday off, I would go in Monday. We would tell the kids and the teachers and we would plan as such."

On spending his one day off at the school: "I'm there. I made a commitment to them for 18 weeks and I've actually gone beyond that, that I would be there for those kids and it's been that way since the season started."

On how old the children are: "These kids range from the age of 11 to age 15."

On how much he thinks he has been rewarded with this contract for being Leonard Weaver the person: "Wow, I will say the whole thing. I just look at it as a tremendous blessing. What better position does a guy ask for? God has really blessed me and I'm just really thankful."

On whether the team knew what his intentions were with being involved in the community before signing him last year: "You know what, I don't know. I don't think they knew the community side. In Seattle you don't get much notoriety in terms of the media, of course. It's been a blessing and coach Andy Reid, he is very proud of what I've done. He actually told me how much of a good job I've been doing. It's a blessing, man. That's my heart. I think it's more important to enhance the future of our kids of tomorrow because they're going to be our next government officials, they're going to be our next presidents, our CEOs and we have to pass on that wisdom that we have down to them."

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