Philadelphia Eagles News

Westbrook Confident McNabb Will Return

Brian Westbrook has laid low so far in the off-season. He's been relaxing at his 23-acre horse farm in Maryland ordering tractors and manure spreaders. No lie.

Two concussions severely limited Westbrook's impact on the field in 2009. Westbrook played in eight games and had 274 rushing yards - the fewest since his rookie year of 2002 - and 181 receiving yards with just one total touchdown. Westbrook spoke with former Eagle Blaine Bishop, who is now a sports talk host for WGFX in Nashville, and he discussed how he has his eyes set on coming back to make a difference in 2010.

"I'm just trying to enjoy this off-season and get ready for this next upcoming season," Westbrook said.

Of course, everyone has had an opinion about what the Eagles will do with the quarterback position next season. Westbrook doesn't think that there's a better quarterback for the Eagles than Donovan McNabb.

"I think there is no question in my mind if Donovan will be back," Westbrook said. "After what he was able to do last year which he had a very good year, of course, everybody measures, a lot of fans measure by Super Bowls. Did you win the Super Bowl and you know realistically there is only going to be one team out of 32 to win the Super Bowl every year and it is hard to do that.

"I don't think that you can measure whether a quarterback can be successful or not by whether he has a Super Bowl or not. If you look at this football team with Donovan and without Donovan, I think you would be hard-pressed to say that there was better quarterback in the league than Donovan McNabb for the Philadelphia Eagles."

Westbrook became a symbol of the league's aggressive approach to changing how teams and players deal with concussions last season. Westbrook was knocked unconscious by a hit in the Oct. 26 win at the Redskins. Westbrook returned to the field against San Diego three weeks later and suffered another concussion. Westbrook explains for the first time that despite passing all of the tests he was not yet fully recovered from the first concussion.

"The truth is, I waited three weeks. I passed all of the tests. I waited three weeks to get back out there and after passing all of the tests waiting at the time, you have a normal hit that kind of just glances off of you or you don't really feel it all that much (one) that had a normal, average NFL hit, not a great big collision or anything like that and the concussion came right back," Westbrook said.

"What happened to me was that I was not completely healed from the first concussion. Even though I waited that long amount of time and passed all the tests I still wasn't completely healed from the first concussion and it came back just like that."

Westbrook returned for the Week 16 win over the Broncos and had 14 carries for 49 yards and six catches for 25 yards in the final two regular season games. Westbrook had just one touch, on a screen pass, that went for 27 yards in the season-ending loss at Dallas. LeSean McCoy, the team's second-round pick last year, rushed for a team-rookie-record 637 yards to lead the Eagles.

This season, if anything else, taught Westbrook the damage that concussions can do to NFL players.

"These concussions are very serious man. I don't think a lot of people are taking them as serious as they should be because really it is a life or death thing," Westbrook said. "Not being able to walk and talk and communicate and remember and of course early onset of Alzheimer's as well as dementia. I don't think any player that is going into the NFL believes that is a realistic risk and it really is if you continue to play with concussions."

Westbrook enters the last year of his contract just 543 rushing yards behind Wilbert Montgomery (6,538) for the most in franchise history. Westbrook is already the franchise record holder for scrimmage yards with 9,785.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:58 p.m., February 8

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