For safety Eric Weddle, it’s Ravens or retirement
— The Baltimore Ravens have difficult decisions to make regarding their defense that finished the season ranked No. 1 in the NFL.
Key players like C.J. Mosley are set to become free agents. What to do with aging, expensive players is another question to answer.
Safety Eric Weddle, 34, is entering the final year of his contract. After 12 years in the NFL, Weddle understands the business. He knows new Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta may consider replacing him with a younger player who would not represent such a large hit against Baltimore’s salar y cap.
“I’m going to go speak to Eric and see what he sees with myself and the team,” Weddle said Monday as players cleared out their lockers at the Under Armour Performance Center one day after a season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. “If he wants me back, I’m here. If not, it’s all good. I understand it and I’ll just ride off in the sunset. I’m good. I still have a desire to play and I feel that I can still affect the game, and dominate games.”
Weddle clarified that if the Ravens choose not to bring him back next season, he will simply retire with no regrets or hard feelings.
“If they want to go in a different direction, I’m not going to go play for another team. It’s not where I’m at in my career,” he said. “It’s either play my last year here and that will be it and enjoy it, or this has been it. It’s pretty simple. I’m a simple kind of guy.”
Weddle signed with Baltimore as a free agent in 2016 after nine seasons in San Diego. He was a Pro Bowl selection all three years he spent with the Ravens,
though his production a bit this season.
Weddle failed to intercept a pass after picking off six last year. His three pass defenses were a career low and he failed to force or recover a fumble for the first time since 2011.
Weddle said his declined wife and children left for California after playoff loss.
“They started school in California. I’m heading back there to be Dad and be there for them,” he said of his immediate plans.
The Ravens early Southern Sunday’s defense improved this season when Weddle took over the play-calling duties from Mosley. Despite a loss of speed at his age, Weddle provided an unquestioned value to the unit through his leadership and pre-snap intelligence.
“Harbs (head coach John Harbaugh) had a great message for us, how proud he was for us. The job that he did for us this year was amazing,” Weddle said. “We’ll always be remembered in Ravens’ history, part of the No.1 defense in 2018, and AFC North champs. When that banner goes up in that building, we can come back and visit. We were part of that group. It’s a lot to look at. We didn’t get the ultimate goal, but you can still be a champion without winning the Super Bowl. I’ve learned that over the years.”
Baltimore Ravens free safety Eric Weddle (32) kneels on the field after a play in the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore.