CLEVELAND -- Eric Weddle spent his first nine years in the National Football League with the San Diego Chargers, but the veteran safety has quickly found a home with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2016 season.
After a less-than-amicable parting of the ways with the Chargers in free agency over a dispute about skipping a halftime meeting to watch his daughter perform and the subsequent fine that followed, Weddle made the decision to move across the country and ply his craft for a rebuilding Ravens team.
And the Ravens could not be happier to have him in the fold.
“He is smart,” Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said. “I’m biased. I have been wanting to play on the same team with Eric for a long time. I get the chance, so I am real excited about that. I love what he brings.
“He helps guys get lined up. He is like the quarterback of the defense. He brings a lot of attributes. He has those guys, just helping them and being a guy that can really be an asset and really just help the defense on the backend.”
During his career with the Chargers, Weddle registered 850 total tackles, including 682 solo stops and 168 assists, with 71 passes defended and 19 interceptions, which he returned for 290 yards and three touchdowns.
Through eight starts with the Ravens, Weddle has registered 41 total tackles with 22 solo stops, six passes defended, one interception and a forced fumble.
“He is just a consummate pro,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He has enthusiasm and a first-rate attitude when he walks in the building every, single day. For that reason, he is a great leader. Very knowledgeable about the game and a very talented athlete.
“You can’t take that away from him. He has always been just a first-class athlete as well. You combine all those things and that makes for a long and successful career, just like what he is having.”
Knowing that Weddle is anchoring the back end of Baltimore’s defense, veteran tight end Gary Barnidge believes the Cleveland Browns’ key to success involves getting the veteran safety thinking one thing is going to happen, and then, do something else.
“He is the same player that he has been when he was in San Diego,” Barnidge said. “He has done a good job. He is a true leader for their defense and has done a good job.
“He is just very smart. He knows and he pays attention to the formations and stuff. He knows what is coming and he studies that stuff. He is a real student of the game, and that shows on the field because he knows what is going to happen and he is picking up on things. With guys like that, you just have to try to confuse them by doing different things.”