Leonard Weaver's Long Goodbye

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Former Eagles fullback Leonard Weaver. (Bill Kostroun/AP file photo)

It has been more than 2 1/2 years since the Eagles' Leonard Weaver lay screaming on the Lincoln Financial Field turf, his left leg virtually blown apart by the helmet of Packers linebacker Nick Barnett.

Really, Weaver went from reigning Pro Bowl fullback to ex-player while he was writhing there, before they even wrestled off his pads and his green No. 43 jersey, but coming to terms with what had happened took awhile. Until Tuesday, more or less. On Tuesday, Weaver stood in the NovaCare auditorium next to a game ball with his name on it, upon the occasion of his official retirement as an Eagle.

Normally, teams don't hold retirement ceremonies for players who only played one year plus one game for them, but Weaver was a special case, not just because for that one year, he was the league's best fullback. Weaver played a strong role in the community and was the right kind of influence on younger players in the locker room.

"When you're scouting players, you're looking for players like Leonard, for what he does not only on the field, an incredible runner, receiver, blocker, thriple threat player -- those are hard to find. So he was a rare commodity for us, and then off the field, the way that he was a role model for our younger players, and how he acted with the community. We're honored that he chose to retire as a Philadelphia Eagle," general manager Howie Roseman said.

Weaver, 30, who now lives in his native Florida, typically thanked everyone, including Eagles fans and the NovaCare cafeteria workers.

'It's just been a great honor to be here. I've been very fortunate and blessed," he said.

He said he felt he was embraced here because he understood the fans, and played with heart.

"They work hard. They're going to talk bad about you. They're gritty. They're going to tell you to your face what time it is, but at the same time, they're going to get it done," he said.

Weaver said he can run now, but does not have full range of motion in his left foot, because of peroneal nerve damage.

Here is a link to a 2012 SportsWeek piece I wrote about Weaver's struggle.

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