Brian Westbrook addressed a number of issues today after taking part in an Eagles-sponsored event that promoted a rematch between the 1993 high school football squads from Phillipsburg and Easton, two long-time Thanksgiving Day rivals.
The running back, during an interview with local radio and television reporters, talked about his surgically repaired left knee, the loss of Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas and the likelihood of the team adding a rookie running back in the draft. In a separate interview on ESPN's First Take, Westbrook was asked about quarterback Donovan McNabb's contract situation.
"I think Donovan means so much to this football team," Westbrook said on ESPN. "He brings a leadership, he brings a lot of value on the field as well. I also think this is a business kind of thing. Do I think he deserves a contract? Absolutely. He has brought so much to the team and this organization as well as the city. Hopefully, he's able to handle his business and the way he wants to get it done."
As for his knee, Westbrook said, "I've gone through a lot of rehab and I'm still continuing to go through rehab. Hopefully this will be the first year I've played pain-free football on my knee in a long time. I have to kind of rebuild myself back and get ready to play this year. I'm excited about the outcome of my rehab."
Westbrook said watching Dawkins leave via free agency for the Denver Broncos was difficult.
"It was tough," he said. "I talked to Brian throughout that process and it was tough for him and it was tough for me as well because he is a very good friend. Now that he's getting used to being out in Denver, I'm happy for him and I know he'll do a great job out there in Denver. For us, as a team, we have to try to fill that void he left and go forward and try to win football games."
Westbrook was asked about job security for others on the team when the Eagles let somebody like Dawkins walk away.
"Play as hard and as long as you can, be excited about the games and enjoy the time that you're here," Westbrook said. "When it's time to move on, you've got to move on."
Westbrook said he didn't think the Eagles were rebuilding after losing Dawkins, Thomas and backup running back Correll Buckhalter.
"I think we let go a lot of talent, a lot of leadership and a lot of my good friends, but at the same time Coach Reid, Joe Banner and those guys upstairs have done a great job of replacing talent," Westbrook said. "They've done a great job of bringing new guys in here to feed the need for talent here and hopefully they will continue to do that."
It's a good bet that the Eagles will bring another running back in via the draft later this month and Westbrook supports that idea.
"I think we definitely will go get a guy that's very talented in the draft, free agency or trade," Westbrook said. "I have no problem with that. You see that throughout the league. You have two or three guys that can play and any talent you can bring into this team ... it will definitely help this team and that's what you're looking for."