SALT LAKE CITY — One of the most storied careers for a former Utah Ute in the NFL has come to an end.
Eric Weddle, who played for three NFL teams in his 13-year career, announced on Twitter Thursday he is retiring.
“It’s been REAL,” Weddle wrote, while giving a shoutout to each franchise he played for — the Chargers, Ravens and Rams. “TEAMMATES, COACHES and others I LOVE y’all. We had a GREAT RUN!!!!!”
Weddle, 35, ends his pro career as a six-time Pro Bowl free safety and five-time All-Pro (twice as a first-teamer and three on the second team). Weddle started 186 of the 211 games he played and had 1,178 career tackles, 98 pass deflections, 29 interceptions, 9.5 sacks and four pick-sixes during regular-season action.
In nine playoff games, Weddle added 43 tackles, two sacks and an interception.
Among those sharing their congratulations for Weddle on social media was Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, who played with Weddle at Utah for two seasons.
“The Man!!! Love you, brother! You led by example and showed the way for so many young DBs coming into the league,” Scalley wrote on Twitter. “You are the ultimate competitor, a selfless teammate, a great husband and father, and your legacy is wrapped in integrity and humility. Thank you for your example!!”
The Man!!! Love you, brother! You led by example and showed the way for so many young DBs coming into the league. You are the ultimate competitor, a selfless teammate, a great husband and father, and your legacy is wrapped in integrity and humility. Thank you for your example!!— Morgan Scalley (@SafetyPride) February 6, 2020
While there’s been no official announcement yet of his retirement, Rams head coach Sean McVay shared what impact Weddle had on the game.
“I wish Eric and his family the best as he retires from football,” McVay said an article posted on the team’s website. “Eric had a distinguished 13-year career in the NFL, where he played at a high level and earned respect across the entire league. He is one of the smartest and most instinctual players I have ever been around. Last season, he served as a captain on our team and was a key cog on our defense. More than that, he was a leader in our locker room and set a professional example for everyone he encountered.”
Weddle, a 2006 consensus All-American at Utah, entered the league as a second-round pick by the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers in 2007. He played nine seasons for the Chargers, three with the Baltimore Ravens and his final season for the Los Angeles Rams.
“Will go down as a NFL great. You helped change the game on and off the field, enjoy the family,” former Ravens teammate Tony Jefferson wrote on Twitter.
Will go down as a NFL great. You helped change the game on and off the field , enjoy the family https://t.co/XObDc3tNjh— Tony Jefferson (@_tonyjefferson) February 6, 2020
Weddle enjoyed his greatest success during his nine seasons with the Chargers organization. As a first-time starter in his second season, he had a career-high 127 tackles in 2008. In 2011, Weddle led the NFL with seven interceptions, then had back-to-back seasons with 100-plus tackles in 2013 (115) and 2014 (114).
In three seasons with Baltimore, Weddle started every game for the Ravens and was a Pro Bowler all three years.
“Happy retirement Bro,” Hall of Fame safety and former Raven Ed Reed, who didn’t play with Weddle in Baltimore, wrote on Twitter. “Great Career, great leader. Next cigar is on me.”
After being cut by Baltimore last year just before the 2019 free agency period opened, Weddle signed a two-year deal with the Rams worth $10.5 million, according to Spotrac, which tracks pro athlete contracts. He was due $4.25 million in base salary this year, Spotrac reported.
Weddle was contemplating retirement toward the end of the 2019 season, ESPN reported, when he had his final 100-plus tackle season with 108.
“I’ve had a great run,” Weddle told ESPN at the time. “No regrets, baby.”
Third-year pro John Johnson, who started alongside Weddle in Los Angeles, shared his congratulations.
“This is the standard. Wish things went differently this season but I appreciate what you’ve done for me and @RamsNFL,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff summed up the news in one word, an apt way to describe Weddle: Legend.