Monday, January 17, 2022

Ex-Pro Bowl Ravens safety retires to chase Super Bowl with former team

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Former Baltimore Ravens safetyman Eric Weddle has come out of retirement to sign with his last NFL team, the Los Angeles Rams, for a tough playoff run in a competitive NFC.

The signing, first announced by Weddle’s agent David Canter, sees Weddle reuniting with Rams head coach Sean McVay after the safety veteran started all 16 games for the Rams in 2019 and ended the season with the team’s second most tackles.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tied Weddle’s signing to an injury to Rams starting safety and leading tackle Jordan Fuller, who injured his ankle during the Rams’ regular season finale against the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 9. according to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiury.

Thiury also reported on January 13 that the Rams’ other starting safety, Taylor Rapp, remains on concussion protocol after suffering a concussion against the 49ers.

Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey posted his approval of the signing on Twitter, noting that he is ready to reunite with Weddle after playing with him for just one season in 2019.

Ravens fans also expressed excitement at Weddle’s return to the NFL, especially since there is a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the Rams. Weddle made five postseason appearances in his career, including 2018 with the Ravens, but he has never played in a Super Bowl in his 13 years in the NFL.

Weddle’s sudden resurgence in the NFL comes 23 months later In February 2020 he announced his retirement after stints with the then San Diego Chargers, Ravens and Rams.

Weddle’s career accomplishments include six Pro Bowl selections, three of which came in consecutive seasons with the Ravens. In fact, Weddle received a Pro Bowl nod every season he spent in Baltimore prior to his March 2019 release.

Weddle was such a dependable player for the Ravens that he has been named as a candidate to return to Baltimore multiple times since his retirement.

He was reportedly “open to a comeback under the right scenario, even if the Ravens needed him,” during the 2020 season when the Ravens were decimated by COVID-19 cases.

Some Ravens fans have also called for Weddle to come out of retirement this season to reinforce a badly drained Baltimore secondary school, though there have been no reports of talks of a 2021 reunion between Weddle and the Ravens.

The Rams also signed another former Raven on Jan. 12: defenseman Blake Countess, most recently on the Baltimore practice team.

Countess arrived in Baltimore in early December, shortly after a season-ending injury to undrafted rookie safety Ar’Darius Washington. The Ravens were also dealing with multiple weekly injuries and COVID-19 cases in their high school at the time.

However, Countess never appeared in a Ravens uniform while concurrently signed Robert Jackson played five games in Baltimore.

Signing Countess will likely add further depth to the Rams’ secondary and special teams if Rapp fails to clear concussion protocol ahead of the Rams’ Jan. 17 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

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