Will Witherspoon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Will Witherspoon
Will Witherspoon Al Anbar cropped.jpg
No. 54, 51, 92
Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1980-08-19) August 19, 1980 (age 34)
Place of birth: San Antonio, Texas
Height: 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) Weight: 242 lb (110 kg)
Career information
High school: Panama City (FL) Rutherford
College: Georgia
NFL Draft: 2002 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
Debuted in 2002 for the Carolina Panthers
Last played in 2013 for the St. Louis Rams
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles 949
Sacks 26.0
Interceptions 14
Stats at NFL.com

William "Will" Cordell Witherspoon (born August 19, 1980) is a retired American football linebacker. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played college football at Georgia.

Witherspoon has also played for the St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans.

Early years[edit]

Witherspoon's father served in the US Air Force, and so Witherspoon moved around as a child. However, his family never lived on the military bases, instead deciding to live in the community so the children could experience the culture. In addition to speaking English, he knows how to speak German, and is learning both Arabic and Swedish. He attended Good Shepherd Lutheran School in middle school. He played running back for Rutherford High School in Panama City, Florida, but switched to linebacker before his senior year. He was chosen as the USA Today Florida Player of the Year for his efforts as a senior, where he posted 112 tackles, 3 sacks, and three interceptions.

Witherspoon and his wife, Rebecca have 3 daughters.[1]

College career[edit]

He played college football at the University of Georgia, where he was a starter for three years. After playing every game as a true freshman, he started most of the Bulldogs' games for the remainder of his time at Georgia, switching between the middle, strong-side, and weak-side linebacker positions. He graduated with 211 tackles, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He was a landscape architecture major.

Professional career[edit]

Pre-draft measureables[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1½ in 231 lb 4.58 s 1.73 s 2.76 s 4.21 s 7.09 s 38 in 10 ft 2 in 25 reps
All values from NFL Combine.[2]

Carolina Panthers[edit]

Witherspoon was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. Witherspoon was the latest addition to new coach John Fox's overhaul of the defense, and Witherspoon's versatility at linebacker helped the Panthers total the second-best defense in the league. He replaced Dan Morgan at middle linebacker halfway through the season after Morgan went down with injury. He finished the season with 71 tackles and 1.5 sacks, his first half sack coming at the Cleveland Browns on December 1. During the 2003 NFL season, Witherspoon was the only Panther linebacker to start every game, where he once again filled in for an injured Morgan at middle linebacker.

He intercepted his first pass off New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks. During Super Bowl XXXVIII, Witherspoon posted a career-high 16 tackles. He ended the campaign with a total of 99 tackles, one sack and one interception. The following year, "Spoon" was one of the few defensive players to start every game for the Panthers, who were wracked with injuries. Despite the loss of key personnel like defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, the Panthers led the league in interceptions. Witherspoon set personal bests with three sacks and four interceptions and a then career-high of 103 tackles. In 2005, his final year with the Panthers, Witherspoon played in 15 games and finished the season 81 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Witherspoon at the Panthers training camp in 2005.

St. Louis Rams[edit]

On March 12, 2006, as an unrestricted free agent, he signed a six-year, $33 million contract (including $15 million guaranteed) with the St. Louis Rams In his first season (2006) with the Rams, he played in all 16 games and recorded a career-high 113 tackles and three sacks. In 2007 he recorded 110 tackles and a career-high seven sacks and was named Team MVP for 2007.[3][4]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

On October 20, 2009 Witherspoon was traded from the Rams to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a fifth round draft pick in 2010. In his first game as an Eagle against the Washington Redskins on October 26, 2009, Witherspoon recorded six tackles, an interception (returned for a touchdown), sack, and a forced fumble. During the season, he played in 17 games, unusual for players to do so (he was traded prior to St. Louis's bye week to the Eagles after the Eagles bye week).

He was released on March 5, 2010.

Will Witherspoon during second stint with Rams. 2013

Tennessee Titans[edit]

Witherspoon was signed by the Tennessee Titans on March 9, 2010. He was voted by his teammates as the Titans Ed Block Courage Award recipient [5]

Second stint with Rams[edit]

On July 18, 2013, Witherspoon signed with the St. Louis Rams.[6]

After Football[edit]

After not being signed by any team in the 2013-2014 off season, Witherspoon announced his retirement and took a job as the St. Louis Rams sideline reporter for Rams Radio Network.

Personal life[edit]

Withespoon is passionate about producing healthy and nutritious food. He owns the sustainable Shire Gate Farm near Owensville, MO.[7] He's vocal about the benefits of grass fed, high welfare meat. Witherspoon says "My cattle are raised as nature intended, on grass, and aren't fed growth hormones, antibiotics or other unnatural additives. I can't take over-the-counter cold medicine without letting my trainer know about it. So why would I want my kids eating beef from cattle fed hormones or routine antibiotics?"

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Steven Jackson
Rams Most Valuable Player Award
2007
Succeeded by
Oshiomogho Atogwe