Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I hate to be the guy to say it out loud, but does anyone else think this could be running back Brian Westbrook's last season with the Eagles? He's been one of the best players in the history of the franchise, but at age 30 he appears to be more fragile than ever.
Obviously, there's not much you can do about preventing a head injury like the one that occurred when he banged into Redskins linebacker London Fletcher's knee two weeks ago. But on Monday, coach Andy Reid revealed that Westbrook had received treatment for a swollen ankle over the weekend. It's the same one that he underwent surgery on this past June. As Daily News beat man Les Bowen points out, the swelling occurred after Westbrook went through two noncontact practices.
And even when Westbrook's been somewhat healthy this season, he hasn't been a big part of the offense. Rookie LeSean McCoy has had some struggles (short yardage against the Cowboys), but he's obviously the future starter. And with the emergence of rookie Jeremy Maclin and future Pro Bowl tight end Brent Celek, Westbrook has become marginalized in this offense. It seems foolish to game plan around a guy who may or may not be there every Sunday, and that's probably why Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid haven't used Westbrook as much as in the past.
Westbrook is under contract with the Eagles through 2010 and his salary-cap number is $10.59 million for that season. It's not like the Eagles necessarily want to cut ties with the talented running back, but they don't want to pay him to hang out with the athletic trainers for another year, either.
At this point, Westbrook appears to have chronic knee and ankle problems. We don't even flinch when we hear that he's undergone another offseason procedure. He's still an enormously talented player, but he's now the team's third or fourth option. That may be tough for some of you to swallow, but I'm afraid it's the truth.