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Brian Westbrook: "This season is gonna be different"

Brian Westbrook was in the middle of another training session, about to begin a set of squats at a Bowie gym Monday when he was approached by a stranger with an all too familiar question.

"How's your head feeling?" the man asked the former Philadelphia Eagles running back, a two-time Pro Bowler who missed eight games last season due to two concussions. Westbrook didn't break from his routine, ignoring the question as he lifted the weights with his shoulders to begin the exercise. But the exasperated look on his face told a different story.

Westbrook says he's completely healthy and has been training hard for nearly two months in preparation for the 2010 NFL season. But the free agent has been unable to shake the skepticism that his best days as a running back are behind him after a 2009 campaign which he completed with just 274 rushing yards.

"A lot of people, they don't understand," said Westbrook, a DeMatha graduate who lives in Upper Marlboro during the offseason. "The way to heal is to rest. ..... They don't realize I didn't have any time to rehab or to just train for last season." Westbrook had surgery on his knee and ankle before the 2009 season.

"That's why I know this season is gonna be different," he continued, "because I've got time to work out, time to get in shape, time to train, time to be the best player I can be. There's no doubt about it when I go out and I'm healthy. This year I'm healthy. No excuses."

In recent weeks, Westbrook has joined two other local NFL veterans, Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (Paint Branch High School) and Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (Blair High School), for workouts with longtime friend Mac James, who grew up with Westbrook in Prince George's County and now runs the training program Athletic Dominance.

Though he dismisses the notion that he will feel any lingering effects from his previous injuries, Westbrook understands he must convince some doubters that he's still the same player who gained nearly 10,000 yards (5,995 rushing, 3,790 receiving) during his eight years with the Eagles.

"Every year, you've got to go out and prove something. It's just now, it's at a different level," he said. "For me, I've been proving myself my whole career and now I got to go out there and show and remind people that it wasn't no fluke. Of course, I've had a couple injuries, but at the same time, any time I've played healthy, I've always been successful. Those numbers don't lie. Those numbers speak for themselves."

As for which uniform he'll be wearing when he returns to the field, that still remains to be seen. Westbrook reiterated Monday that he has spoken with "six or seven" teams, including the Redskins, but that he's still determining which one is the best fit for him. He hopes to sign a contract before training camp begins but only if he finds the "right place."

He said he has been speaking with his brother, Byron, frequently and has come away impressed with what he's heard about Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan. Despite the already crowded backfield at Redskins Park these days, Westbrook said again that he would "love to be a part of the organization. It just needs to make sense for both of us."

"I'm not a stranger to competition, I've competed for everything that I've had ..... in my whole career," he said. " ..... My goal is to go to a good, quality football team that can win.
"Working hard, that's nothing to me. That's just what I do."

By Mark Giannotto  |  July 14, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  offseason workouts  
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Next: Redskins last in young talent

Comments

"Show me the money."

Posted by: lxy32 | July 14, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Until Westbrook becomes a redskin, I don't care what he does.

Posted by: MistaMoe | July 14, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Brian isn't a necessary piece to the offense, but he'll be good to have coming out of the backfield considering the questions at the WR position.

Posted by: TWISI | July 14, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

On a team markedly short of offensive weapons, he would be a welcome addition. My bet is he wants way too much money, though. These guys always overvalue themselves.

Posted by: bostskin | July 14, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Jason Reid sucks man! His name and face is plastered all over this blob but he never says anything! It's always someone else. Why is his name even attached to this thing?

Posted by: iubiquity | July 14, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

If this were a post saying he did something wrong, there would be at least 100 comments regurgitating statements about today's athletes being all the same. Nobody cares about the guys that do things right.

Posted by: noluvdr |

Speaking for Cynics everywhere I disagree with your conclusion. We become a nation of cynics not because we don't care about people who do things right, but precisely because we do, and there are so few who do, it seems.

Count me in the Lo Alexander Fan Club, a position I've occupied ever since I saw him, in his first oreseason, get his helmet knocked off, get up, chase down the play, make the tackle and add a nice scar on his cheek.

Give me a team of Alexanders and I'll win you a Superbowl.

Posted by: TheCork | July 14, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Sign him and just put him in games against the Giants and Cowboys. Guy probably has over half of his TD's against those 2 teams.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | July 14, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Brian isn't a necessary piece to the offense, but he'll be good to have coming out of the backfield considering the questions at the WR position.

Posted by: TWISI | July 14, 2010 12:12 PM


I beg to differ...I think he is necessary if he's healthy. Right now we don't have a true 3rd down back (regardless of the sunshine the coaches are blowing up Portis' skirt) and Westbrook would bring a wrinkle to the offense that you won't get from the other guys current on the RB depth chart. I'd take him over LJ or Parker right now, and be thrilled to have a Portis/Westbrook/Torain backfield going into this season.

Do it Bruce!

Posted by: brownwood26 | July 14, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

We could probably put together a pretty decent pro team just with guys who come from/play out of the DC area.


Posted by: p1funk | July 14, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Why ignore the guy when he just asked a question Westbrook? I mean a stranger can't ask, how you head is feeling? I would ask the samething, especially if I was corcerned if he was up to playing football and get smacked in the head.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | July 14, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

He needs to just sign already. Play for his hometown team, in the division he knows, play with Donovan and maybe his younger Bro. Play against the Eagles with Donovan and kill them twice this year and make them realize what they lost. Signing with the Skins just makes sense if you ask me for Westy.

Posted by: avbanig | July 14, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Brian, you're worth whats on the table. Take it and come to work. Or, retire.

Posted by: MadeRED | July 14, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

DMV has mad pro ballers in both basketball and football.


Charge it to the high amounts of fluoride and chlorine in the water around here.

Posted by: RedDMV | July 14, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Until Westbrook becomes a redskin, I don't care what he does."

Exactly.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 14, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Do you have to weight 360 pounds+ to play NT/DT?

I wonder.

Casey Hampton 6' 1" 325

Jay Ratliff 6' 4" 303

Shaun Rogers 6' 4" 350

Darnell Dockett 6' 4" 285

Tommie Harris 6' 3" 295

Maake Kemoteau 6' 5" 345

Richard Seymour 6' 6" 310

Vince Wilfork 6' 2" 325


It looks to me like Albert Haynesworth can play defensive tackle/nose guard at 6' 6" 320 pounds with no problems at all if these other guys can.

And with improved conditioning, he's on the field longer.

That is, if all of this stuff about his weight-loss is true.


Posted by: MistaMoe | July 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I say, let's bring him in and let him compete. But I'm with Moe, until he signs HGAF. HTTR.

Posted by: wireman65 | July 14, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"We could probably put together a pretty decent pro team just with guys who come from/play out of the DC area."

The team from Palm Beach County would beat it 7 times in a row.

We'll start with Pierre Garcon, Santonio Holmes, and Devin Hester as wide outs.

Kenny Phillips and Vince Wilfork anchor the defense.

We'll start with that group.

Posted by: MistaMoe | July 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Sign him. Good players make a place for themselves and Westbrook will, somehow fit in. It doesn't matter if he's lined up as a wide receiver or in the backfield with two other backs: a good player will fit in and make a team better. The news I have heard so far - and that's a very carefully laid "so far" - is Portis and Johnsoon look strong, and Willi Parker needs to go somewhere else. That makes a hole for Westbrook and the two sides just need to make it happen.

BTW, nowhere is it written that you can't run the bulk of your plays with two half backs, one fullback, one wideout and one tight end (or two tight ends and no wideout). You can shift the tailbacks to a wideout spot, or shift to any number of different formations from that set. This isn't Jim Zorn trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Shanahan said he would adapt the offense to the players he has, so why not give him a bevy of good players, regardless of position?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 14, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

He's just being smart. If you come into a backfield and don't start or at least secure the 3rd down back spot, your career is over. Better to jump on a team that *needs* an RB than one that needs the old Westbrook but has other options.

Posted by: WorstSeat | July 14, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Justin Tryon is the Redskins Top Prospect?

Has anyone else seen this over on espn.com:

"5. Justin Tryon, CB, Washington Redskins
It's hard to make much of an impact in the Washington secondary. Over the past few years, no team has dedicated more resources to the defensive backfield -- both draft picks and free agent cash -- than the Redskins. Yet, while DeAngelo Hall allows countless completions and LaRon Landry overruns play after play, the team unearthed a bona fide starting corner in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. Tryon only started two games during his second year in the league, but he played like he belonged in the Millionaires' Club. According to the Football Outsiders game charting project, Tryon allowed 5.8 adjusted yards per attempt, nearly a half-yard better than any other Redskins corner. Despite spending time in the slot, Tryon didn't allow receivers to get open deep; passes at him were only thrown an average of 7.8 yards away from the line of scrimmage, the lowest figure -- by far -- among Redskins corners. He took Fred Smoot's job away during the year, and while he has to beat out Phillip Buchanon for the nickel job in camp (spoiler: he will), he may have Carlos Rogers' starting job in his back pocket by the end of the season."

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=5374109

This is news to me... I didn't know Tryon was that good.

Posted by: Wonsapnatm | July 14, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I suspect the only apparent difference we'll see for Westbrook this season is the real possibility of him playing at concession rates... maybe on a short-term, incentive laden deal.

While he has yet to see it, the best deal he hope to get this year. Facing a lock out next year and with obviously declinging skills, nobody with any real sense will be willing to pay him franchise money as a young, up and coming, first-string runner.

Rather, those six or seven teams that may be may be looking for an occasional third down back and spot starter... and nobody has broken ranks and said he's worth much more than other league journeymen in similar positions.

With Portis, Johnson and Parker already in the stable here and occupying similar roles, I am surprised that the Redskins are still talking with him... but I suspect it's only out of kindness to brother Byron.

Posted by: Vic1 | July 14, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=5374109

This is news to me... I didn't know Tryon was that good.

Posted by: Wonsapnatm | July 14, 2010 1:10 PM |

Tryon was markedly better after spending sometime last offseason with D Green. He spent some with Green again this offseason, so let's hope there's a trend there. His size will always be an issue on the outside, but he has some upside. Just another one of the youngins that's got game (despite what the former administration would lead some to believe), but needs another year or two to be a consistently solid player.

Posted by: TWISI | July 14, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The team from Palm Beach County would beat it 7 times in a row.

We'll start with Pierre Garcon, Santonio Holmes, and Devin Hester as wide outs.

Kenny Phillips and Vince Wilfork anchor the defense.

We'll start with that group.

Posted by: MistaMoe | July 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Zing!!! Might be the truest statement you have made.

Posted by: gatorskinz2000 | July 14, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It looks to me like Albert Haynesworth can play defensive tackle/nose guard at 6' 6" 320 pounds with no problems at all if these other guys can.

And with improved conditioning, he's on the field longer.

That is, if all of this stuff about his weight-loss is true.

Posted by: MistaMoe

A few of those guys are not NTs in a 3-4. to your point you can Play NT if you are over 300 but it really depens on the system. Some require larger space eating NTs and some use penetrating NTs.

Fat Al could fit at all the positions.

Posted by: srobert1117 | July 14, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I like his attitude, sign'im up!

Posted by: RealConservative | July 14, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Why target Tryon (a relative unknown) when you can target Hall or Landry on 3rd down and know what to expect?

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Dude could have just as easily lost 32 pounds in the crappa the morning after a bad plate of calamari and crabs in the VIP Room at Playas Exotic Lap Dancas Club.

Posted by: Vic1 | July 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | July 14, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

some use penetrating NTs.

Fat Al could fit at all the positions.

Posted by: srobert1117 | July 14, 2010 1:37 PM

That's what she said.

Posted by: stevek20147 | July 14, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

We have other needs.

He hasnt been here working out.

He wants too much money.

Concussions are not just another injury.

Posted by: Gibbs4Pres | July 14, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

this year is uncapped - pay Westbrook and let him make plays as McNabb's slot wr

Posted by: coparker5 | July 14, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

You can never have enough talent on offense! IMO, Give the man a chance and let him sign a contract with incentives to perform! Would love to see him score the winning touchdown in Philly,N.Y. or Dallas!

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | July 14, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

If we don't bring in Westbrook were STUPID. This gut was the best player on the EAGLES with a huge heart!

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | July 14, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan

If we don't bring in Westbrook were STUPID

LMAO!!!!!

Posted by: hessone | July 14, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

perhaps other GM's saw that interview he did along with Urlacher in the middle of last season on "Joe Buck Live" where he plainly stated that everytime he gets the ball in the future he will have thoughts of getting drilled in the back of his head.

His response seemed sincere.

Posted by: strom1 | July 14, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey yo, the 2000 team still makes me sick to my stomach because I think it was so close to working... but we had an aging Larry Centers kick azz coming out of the backfield. I'd like to see Westbrook in the same role and given his familiarity with DMC and the WCO it would be a pretty natural fit...then cut one of the three Portis, Johnson and Parker. But that's just me.

Posted by: lavararrington | July 14, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Do you have to weight 360 pounds+ to play NT/DT?

I wonder.

Casey Hampton 6' 1" 325

Jay Ratliff 6' 4" 303

Shaun Rogers 6' 4" 350

Darnell Dockett 6' 4" 285

Tommie Harris 6' 3" 295

Maake Kemoteau 6' 5" 345

Richard Seymour 6' 6" 310

Vince Wilfork 6' 2" 325


It looks to me like Albert Haynesworth can play defensive tackle/nose guard at 6' 6" 320 pounds with no problems at all if these other guys can.

And with improved conditioning, he's on the field longer.

That is, if all of this stuff about his weight-loss is true.


Depends on what you want your men to do...every scheme is different.
nice stats on the variations of front guys though.

Posted by: craigiam | July 15, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Westbrook is not a bum, and he isn't a guy with tired legs. He got his bell rung. He could always run and catch and destroys teams. He made a fool out of Washington defenses on numerous occasions. If, Parker has not impressed, it would be better to move on to someone who still has speed and playmaking ability. Portis could be used on first and second downs, Westbrook on long yardage third downs and Johnson on short yardage. All three could produce longer and be more effective. It would just be beautiful to see a Redskin team that could run wild again.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | July 15, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

"Westbrook is not a bum, and he isn't a guy with tired legs. He got his bell rung. He could always run and catch and destroys teams. He made a fool out of Washington defenses on numerous occasions."

Posted by: 1bmffwb | July 15, 2010 2:24 AM

Totally agree. But Westbrook dodged the question about his head. He talked about getting his knee and ankle rehabbed. Nobody is worried about his legs. His head is a HUGE question. The shot he took from Fletcher was a legit concussion causing shot. The one he took a couple weeks later was not. Ask Steve Young or Troy Aikman about how concussions cut careers short. You can't fake the funk on brain injuries. All the talk in the world aint gonna make him able to play running back ever again. I hope I'm wrong, but to me, it unfortunately looks like Westbrook's career is one decent head shot from over. One.

For a running back, what's that? One game? One quarter? One play?

Posted by: Thinker_ | July 15, 2010 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Palm Beach County... HA!

ALL of Florida would whip up on the DC Area.

As a kid in Takoma Park, we played soccer at recess. Soccer or kickball.

When I moved to Florida, we played tackle football at recess... the gym teacher was referee. We played in a giant sand box, and there were no rules about HOW to bring somebody down. Usually, a flying headlock worked best.

Florida is SERIOUS football.

I say DC would have them in Soccer, though.
Or even kickball.

Posted by: Thinker_ | July 15, 2010 3:03 AM | Report abuse

Seriously dude should retire why he still can.

Westbrooke talk like he's been fighting for the last 10 years. Very slow

One word RETIRE!

Posted by: shamken | July 15, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Westbrook is done as Philly well knows! He is old, over the hill and one hit away from becoming an eggplant!

He never showed any interest in becoming a Redskin when he could have done us some good? Now he want's to play for his hometown?

PATHETIC!

He needs to retire! Preferably in Philadelphia where he made his bed.

Posted by: sbf845 | July 15, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Geez, I sure hope the 'Skins pass on this guy; his arrogance is staggering - he's literally been a prick since High School. Go pump some gas, Westbrook (and take your lousy, non-playing brother with him). As far as Mr. 'Double-negative College Graduate' - it "wasn't no fluke" that the Eagles cut his 7 game a year playing a$$!!

Posted by: guisher | July 15, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Dude is burnt. Smart teams will pass on him. Are the Skins smart? Duh!

Posted by: theBozyn | July 16, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I hope we sign Westbrook i also wish fat al had 10% of London Fletcher in him

Posted by: southportwave | July 16, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I hope we sign Westbrook i also wish fat al had 10% of London Fletcher in him

Posted by: southportwave | July 16, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

How about we forget adding another RB and go find another OFFENSIVE LINEMAN!

So sick of hearing about 'should we add Westbrook and T.Owens'. Please stop.

Posted by: Gibbs4Pres | July 17, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

He may be in good shape and able to play at a high level, BUT, if he get's another serious concussion, he'd likely be out for 5 weeks, while getting paid big money. Same might happpen to Portis. These NFL doctors are getting really serious about multiple concussions and making them sit for a while. We already have one with multiple, let's not add another. Sorry Westbrook. Just retire and have fun with your money.

Posted by: Gibbs4Pres | July 17, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

That is, if all of this stuff about his weight-loss is true.
Posted by: MistaMoe | July 14, 2010 12:54 PM
----------------------------
I think it true...it makes no since to lie about it.

Posted by: jcnjcnj | July 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Ignored a guy who just asks how is head is instead of asking for an autograph? I remember many years ago I saw Phil Chenier how his back was he had been out for a while and he sat down at a bench with me for ten or fifteen minutes talking Phil was 100% class wish Haynesworth had some of Phil's qualities.

Posted by: southportwave | July 20, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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