Wednesday was a day of celebration and remembrance, as running back Brian Westbrook returned to Philadelphia to retire as a member of the Eagles.
Surrounded by his family, friends and former coaches and players, Westbrook reflected on what it meant to play in Philadelphia for nearly a decade.
"I'm blessed to be here and I'm thankful to be here," Westbrook said. "I spent eight good years; eight of my best years of my life playing for the Eagles."
Head coach Andy Reid remembered Westbrook as not only a tremendous football player, but a smart and versatile one as well.
"This guy did it all," Reid said. "He'll go down as one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles, and obviously by the number of yards he produced offensively, being the leader in that category, I'm kind of stating the obvious there."
Westbrook retires as one of the greatest offensive players in team history. His 9,785 yards from scrimmage are a team record. His 5,995 rushing yards are second on the franchise's all-time list. He was also a two-time Pro Bowl selection and was named an All-Pro in 2007.
But Westbrook was quick to point out that his success was tied to his teammates.
"My success is built solely on the shoulders of guys doing their jobs, and I'm appreciative of that," he said.
The running back had many people to thank, but made sure to send his thanks to the fans who cheered him on, week after week.
"You're the best fans in the world, and I hope the passion I played with on the field and the way I carried myself off the field represented you guys well and made you guys proud," Westbrook said. "Thank you for all the cheers, the love and support throughout the ups and downs of my career."
In many ways, Westbrook's career was all about beating the odds. He was deemed too small; too injury-prone to ever make an impact in the pros. Back in high school, Westbrook said, he never could've imagined the success he would find in football.
"When I was (in high school), I just focused on being the best player I could be, and I tried to focus on that my entire career," Westbrook said. "I've been blessed and lucky ... Every step of the way has been a blessing. I've learned so much."
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