You might be wondering what happened to the interview with Brian Westbrook promised in a Friday afternoon posting.
At Tra Thomas’ charity golf tournament Friday in DeLand, Fla., BWest begged off speaking at length to your Eagletarian, but readily agreed to do so on Saturday, at the youth football clinic Tra was conducting in the local high school football stadium.
Long story short, because I don’t think the public is all that interested in the trials and tribulations of reporters trying to get stories, BWest unagreed to speak with me on Saturday. He’s a quirky, cantankerous interview subject in the best of times, and with all the hubbub surrounding the departures of longtime Eagles franchise icons, including Brian Dawkins and the weekend’s host, I think he decided these were not the best of times.
Of course, Westbrook could have just said that on Friday, rather than leading me to believe we would speak, then putting me off again and again on Saturday, and, I believe, working to make me unwelcome at the charity event I had been invited to attend, but that’s life covering professional athletes. One is reminded constantly that their time is much more precious than one’s own.
Anyhow --- and that really is the short version, trust me – I did manage to wedge in a few questions here and there, as Brian was climbing in and out of SUVs, and some puffed-up local dignitary was threatening me with arrest.
The main issue with Westbrook is the arthroscopic left knee cleanout he underwent around the time of the Super Bowl, which the Eagles did not announce. I asked Brian what he wanted fans to know, as he recovers and gets ready for 2009.
“Nothing. I don’t have anything I want to say to the fans,” he said.
Asked specifically about the surgery, he said: “I didn’t have to have it. It was a surgery that’ll make things a lot better, so the (week-to-week) soreness won’t be there and hopefully, I’ll be able to participate in practices without so much pain. It was a basic cleanout.”
Westbrook, who turns 30 in September, said he’d thought about having something like this done previously, but “I wanted to make sure I was there to help the team win football games.” One of the event officials prevented me from asking a follow-up there, but I assume Westbrook was talking about not wanting to have anything done during the season, which would have meant missing a stretch of games.
He said he thinks he has several years left, at a position where players seem to age almost overnight. After a career year in 2007, in which Westbrook broke franchise records for receptions (90) and total yards (2,104), his yards per carry in 2008 slipped to 4.0, his lowest since 2005. His 54 receptions for 402 yards were his lowest totals since 2003.
My question about the changes on the team, and his thoughts about the depaertures, was asked a couple of times and was not answered.
Westbrook, only six weeks or so past the surgery, not surprisingly did not participate in Tra’s charity basketball game Saturday evening, in which Kevin Kolb and Juqua Parker were the standouts, though BWest watched from the bench.