Rams safety Eric Weddle has announced his retirement from the NFL.
"It's been REAL @NFL @Chargers @Ravens @RamsNFL!" Weddle wrote in a post on his personal Twitter account. "TEAMMATES, COACHES and others I LOVE y'all. We had a GREAT RUN!!!!! #BEARDOUT"
A five-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection, Weddle collected 29 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, eight forced fumbles and 1,179 tackles in 201 career games played (186 starts) across 13 NFL seasons. He spent his first nine with the Chargers, then three with the Ravens before signing with the Rams prior to the 2019 season. In his lone season with the Rams, he was voted a captain by his teammates and finished second on the team in tackles with 108.
"I wish Eric and his family the best as he retires from football," Rams Head Coach Sean McVay said. "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."
When he spoke to local media ahead of the Rams' 2019 season finale against the Cardinals, the then-34-year-old safety (he turned 35 in January) indicated that game might be his last given his age, the rise of rookie Taylor Rapp and the eventual return of 24-year-old John Johnson III from injury. He knew moving on would either be his choice or the team's – he also had a team option in his contract that, if declined by the Rams, would have made him an unrestricted free agent when the new league year began March 18.
"Whatever the decision happens (to be), whether it's me or them, it's all good," Weddle said on Dec. 22. "If it is (my last game), I'm ready for the next step of being at home with my kids. I've missed them dearly."
Today, Weddle took that next step. Now, he'll get to enjoy more time with his family – and all the ice cream his heart desires.