Eric Weddle changed franchises for the first time this past offseason, leaving the San Diego Chargers, with whom he’d spent his entire NFL career, to sign with the Baltimore Ravens.
Before inking his four-year deal with the Ravens, however, the All-Pro safety engaged in talks with the New England Patriots. And by the sound of it, he would have jumped at the chance to play his home games at Gillette Stadium had circumstances worked out differently.
“Obviously, I was interested,” Weddle said Thursday in a conference call with New England reporters. “I have nothing but high regard, respect, admiration and envy, quite honestly, for the success of the New England Patriots over the years. And obviously battling them over my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. So it was definitely on my radar, and there were talks both ways. It just didn’t end up.”
Weddle noted New England’s current depth chart in the secondary, which features mainstays Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung at the two safety spots. McCourty has started every game in which he’s played in his NFL career, and Chung has come off the bench just twice since returning to New England in 2014.
“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung — I grew up playing with him,” Weddle said. “And Devin’s one of the best (safeties). So I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”
This past spring actually was the Patriots’ second chance to nab Weddle. They passed on him in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, instead using the 24th overall pick on fellow safety Brandon Meriweather.
Weddle went to the Chargers 13 picks later and since has gone on to earn five All-Pro selections. It would be unfair to call Meriweather a bust — he was a two-time Pro Bow pick, after all — but he lasted just four seasons in New England and currently is out of the NFL.
“I’m still quite wondering why they didn’t just draft me in ’07,” Weddle said. “I could have been still playing there right now.”
Weddle has three interceptions and 10 pass breakups this season for the Ravens, who visit the Patriots on Monday night.
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images