Eric Weddle

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Eric Weddle
Eric Weddle
Weddle in 2013.
No. 32     San Diego Chargers
Free safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-01-04) January 4, 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth: Fontana, California
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school: Alta Loma (CA)
College: Utah
NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37
Debuted in 2007 for the San Diego Chargers
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2014
Tackles 692
Sacks 6.0
Pass deflections 63
Interceptions 19
Forced fumbles 3
Touchdowns 3
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Eric Steven Weddle (born January 4, 1985) is an American football safety for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Utah and was recognized as a consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Chargers in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and is considered to be one of the best safeties in the NFL.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Weddle was born in Fontana, California.[3] He grew up in Alta Loma, California, and attended local Alta Loma High School. At Alta Loma High, he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. In football, he was a three-time all-league selection and a two-time All-CIF selection.

Weddle added first-team all-area accolades from the Los Angeles Times and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. A second-team All-Southern Section honoree, he also received all-region honors from Rivals.com and Student Sport Magazine. He was named the team's best receiver and most valuable player as a senior.

The team captain had 129 tackles, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and five recovered fumbles on defense, adding 587 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns, 965 yards passing and five scoring tosses as a senior. He led Alta Loma High to the 2000 Mt. Baldy League championship.

College career[edit]

Weddle enrolled in the University of Utah, where he played for the Utah Utes football team from 2003 to 2006. He was immediately put into action in 2003, starting his last nine games at right cornerback. He earned Freshman All-American first-team and All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention. He posted 60 tackles (29 solos) with four sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He deflected four passes and intercepted another while also carrying the ball once (minus 6 yards).

In 2004, Weddle shifted to strong safety, starting eleven games. Despite sitting out the Arizona clash with a right knee sprain, he ranked third on the team with 75 tackles (47 solos). He added one sack, 4.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble. He advanced a fumble recovery 31 yards, batted away five passes and intercepted four others. He also averaged 10.5 yards on 20 punt returns.

Weddle earned Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-MWC, second-team All-American and Emerald Bowl Defensive MVP honors in 2005. He started all twelve games, lining up at strong safety in five contests, at left cornerback in four and as a nickel back in three others. He ranked third on the team with 78 tackles (49 solos) and second with eleven stops for losses. He had four sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He led the conference with sixteen passes defensed (12 break-ups, 4 interceptions). He punted twice for 46 yards, attempted two passes and averaged 6.4 yards on 24 punt returns. He also rushed seven times for 35 yards and one touchdown.

In 2006, Weddle was a consensus All-American and unanimous All-MWC first-team choice. He was again named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. He started the team’s first two games at strong safety before shifting to left cornerback and closed out the season as the nickel back. He made 64 tackles (40 solos) with a sack, a forced fumble and 2.5 stops for losses. He returned one of three fumble recoveries for a touchdown, deflected two passes and ranked eighth in the nation with seven interceptions. He averaged 5.5 yards on eight punt returns and completed 2-of-4 passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. He also carried 44 times for 203 yards (4.6 avg) and five scores.

In 48 games at Utah, Weddle started 45 times (9 at right cornerback, 12 at left cornerback, 6 at nickel back, 18 at strong safety). He recorded 277 tackles, as his 165 solo hits rank sixth in school annals. He produced ten sacks for minus 69 yards and 22.5 stops for losses of 108 yards. He set the school career record with nine forced fumbles and ranks sixth with six fumble recoveries, returning two for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Weddle is tied for sixth in Utah history with 23 pass deflections and ranks second (MWC record) with 18 interceptions for 148 yards (8.2 avg) in returns. His three pass thefts returned for touch-downs rank second in school annals. He ranks fifth on the school record books with 52 punt returns, good for 408 yards (7.8 avg).

On offense, Weddle rushed 52 times for 259 yards (5.0 avg) and six touchdowns. He completed 2-of-6 passes for 43 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He recovered an onside kick and also punted twice for 46 yards with a long of 34.

Nearing the end of an electrifying senior year, Doug Robinson of the Deseret Morning News wrote an article championing Weddle for the Heisman Trophy based on how valuable he is to the Utah Utes. He wrote, "The only people who spend more time on the field than Weddle each Saturday are referees. Against Air Force two weeks ago, Weddle played every snap on defense and collected eight tackles. On offense, he led the Utes in rushing with 73 yards and scored Utah's only two touchdowns. He also served as the holder for the game-winning field goal. He played a total of 90 plays." Robinson wrote that Fisher DeBerry, Air Force's football head coach told Weddle after the game, "They're cheating you, son; they ought to give you two scholarships." Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said, "He should win the Heisman Trophy... I sincerely mean that."[4]

NFL career[edit]

2007 NFL Draft[edit]

In the 2007 NFL Draft, the Chargers traded the 62nd pick (2nd), 93rd pick (3rd), 167th pick (5th) and a 2008 3rd rounder to the Chicago Bears for the right to move up to the 37th pick and select Weddle. Chicago took Dan Bazuin, Garrett Wolfe and Kevin Payne in 2007, and Marcus Harrison in 2008. Despite the price San Diego ended up paying for Weddle, experts still believed he would be of tremendous value to the Chargers. During the 2007 combine, Weddle ran a 1.43 10 yard time, tying him with Aundrae Allison and Marcus McCauley for the then fastest split time up to that point. "[5]

In a short article by the Union Tribune 's Jay Posner, he quoted NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock as saying, "He will upgrade them athletically in the middle of the field. I like this kid a lot. He's an instinctive kid with a nose for the ball." ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said, "That's an awful lot to give up. ... They're telling us they don't need all those other draft picks (because of the talent already on the roster)." Charger Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, Buddy Nix responded, "We're not worried about what we gave up; we're worried about what we got.[6]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
5 ft 11 in 203 lb 4.48 s 1.43 s 2.56 s 4.12 s 6.78 s 33 12 in 9 ft 5[7] in 11 reps 27
All stats except Wonderlic are from NFL Combine[8][9]

San Diego Chargers[edit]

2007[edit]

Weddle (#32) at the 2012 Pro Bowl.

Weddle started the 2007 season as the strong safety behind Clinton Hart. He was also known to be the team's dimeback playing in 2nd/3rd and long situations, along with being the backup holder on special teams. It was speculated that he would be used instead of the current holder Mike Scifres in situations where a fake field goal or extra point attempt would occur as he was a threat to run or throw the ball in those situations. The Chargers led the NFL in takeaways that season with 48. On October 28, 2007, Weddle recorded his first NFL regular season interception against the Houston Texans. Weddle saw plenty of action during his rookie season, playing as the dime safety and finished his rookie season with 48 total tackles, one sack and one interception along with six pass deflections while playing in one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL.

2008[edit]

At the start of the 2008 season, Weddle was officially named the starting free safety alongside Clinton Hart who was signed to a long-term contract extension in the offseason at strong safety. On September 22, Weddle made his first interception of the season against the New York Jets in a Week 3 Monday Night Football game against quarterback Brett Favre. He finished the season with 127 tackles, one sack, and one interception.[10]

2009[edit]

In 2009, Weddle had 82 tackles (68 solo), five TFLs for 14 yards, 1.5 sacks, two INTs for 44 yards, one TD, and seven PDs in 13 games.[3]

2010[edit]

Weddle’s all-around game improved each year and in 2010, he received his first all-pro honors when he was selected to the AP’s All-Pro second team after the Chargers finished the season ranked first in the NFL in pass defense. Weddle helped turn around a pass defense that just two seasons earlier ranked second-to-last in the league. Within months, the Chargers rewarded Weddle with a new five-year, $40 million contract in July 2011. It was the largest contract ever for a Free Safety which made up for high expectations.[11]

2011[edit]

He had a breakout 2011 season with 88 tackles and a career-high seven interceptions. He helped clinch two early-season back-to-back wins with late fourth-quarter interceptions, becoming just the third Chargers defender to do so in the previous 20 years. It was the beginning of a Pro Bowl season in which Weddle tied for the NFL lead with a career-high seven picks. Weddle was also voted to the Pro Bowl, accompanied by his selection as the Chargers’ Defensive Player of the Year. Weddle even intercepted two passes in the Pro Bowl, one of which resulted in a touchdown after a lateral, while also breaking up a game-high three passes and tying for second with five tackles en route to a 59-41 win by the AFC.[12]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Weddle was once again playing at an elite level as he was one of the best safeties in the league. He was voted by teammates the Chargers’ Most Valuable Player, at the end of the 2012 season. Weddle garnered the team’s top honor after leading the squad with 111 tackles. He also tacked on first-team All-Pro honors from CBSSports.com and Pro Football Weekly & the Professional Football Writers of America, and second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press.

2013[edit]

In 2013, Weddle again proved himself to be one of the most elite safeties in the league. He was elected to his second Pro Bowl, along with teammate Philip Rivers. He made second-team All-Pro honors for the second year in a row from the Associated Press. Weddle played all 16 Games for the 4th-straight year, collecting 115 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 9 passes defended, and 2 fumble recoveries. However, his most important contribution came on special teams. With the Chargers needing a win to advance to the postseason, Weddle called for a fake punt on a 4th and 2 from the Chargers' own 28 yard line, gaining just enough yards for the first down. The Chargers would go on to kick a game-winning field goal later in the drive. Weddle also became Chargers defensive player of the year for the 2nd time in his career, also winning the prestigious award in 2011.

Career Stats[edit]

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Fumble Return Yards Interceptions Interception Return Yards Average Yards per Interception Return Longest Interception Return Interceptions Returned for Touchdown Pass Defended Stuffs Stuff Yards Kick Blocks
2007 SD 15 53 42 11 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 6 1 2 0
2008 SD 16 127 105 22 1.0 0 1 0 1 3 3 3 0 5 2 5 0
2009 SD 13 82 68 14 1.5 0 0 0 2 44 22 31 1 7 5 14 0
2010 SD 16 96 80 16 0.5 0 0 0 2 64 32 41 1 10 4 12 0
2011 SD 16 88 70 18 0.0 0 0 0 7 89 13 26 0 11 3 5 0
2012 SD 16 97 83 14 1.0 2 0 0 3 52 17 23 1 9 4 10 0
2013 SD 16 115 88 27 1.0 1 2 27 2 21 11 21 0 10 4 10 0
Total Total 108 658 536 122 6.0 3 3 0 18 273 15 41 3 58 23 58 0

[13]

Personal life[edit]

A Southern California native, Weddle grew up in Alta Loma, 115 miles north of San Diego. He and his wife, Chanel, his former high school sweetheart, married in La Jolla in July 2005. The couple has four children, Brooklyn Marie, Silver Jean, Gaige and Kamri Joe.

While in college at The University of Utah Weddle converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)[14]

Weddle is a gym-rat and an avid golfer. He plays basketball and golf several times a week and is a single-digit handicap on the links. He also enjoys bowling and movie nights with his family. Eric and Chanel wed before his junior season at Utah. They lived around Ogden, UT, to be nearer to Utah State University in Logan, UT, where Chanel went to school and played soccer for the Aggies, while Eric commuted nearly an hour each way to Salt Lake City where the University of Utah is located for school and football.[15]

Weddle was a special education major at Utah who helped tutor students with learning disabilities. As a professional, he has remained active in the community supporting a number of worthy causes, including breast cancer as his grandmother is a two-time survivor of the disease.[1]

Weddle’s rise through the NFL was recently chronicled in the book “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” which was written by Trent Toone and published by Shadow Mountain. The book, which tells Weddle’s story of overcoming adversity and accomplishing impossible dreams, hit bookshelves in May. Weddle’s former coach at the University of Utah, Kyle Wittingham, wrote the foreword.[16]

References[edit]

External links[edit]