Utah Football: Eric Weddell talks about ‘fairy tale’ Super Bowl ending

He wears his signature beard and his Super Bowl ring, Eric Weddell I was instigator In the University of Utah Athletics Hall of Fame last weekend.

It was the latest in a long, long line of surreal safety experiments for the former Ute star and The consensus of all Americans.

“The top is a national championship. That is the standard. We are not here to just be good. We want to be great.” Eric Weddell on what he thinks of UTIS Football

“For all of this to happen, it’s as if I’m still somewhat of a dream,” he told reporters beforehand. Utah wins 7-7 over southern Utah last Saturday. “It keeps getting better every day I wake up. You try to do things right and treat people the right way and good things happen.”

Growing up, Weddle never thought he’d be a college football player, let alone find himself playing and starring in the NFL.

But 2nd round draft From the 2007 NFL Draft she played for 13 seasons, including nine with the Chargers and three with the Baltimore Ravens—earning six Pro Bowl picks.

Weddell crowned his career with a unique and unforgettable style. He retired after the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Rams, but returned in 2021 during the Rams’ playoff round that culminated in a dramatic 23-20 win over Cincinnati. At Super Bowl LVI.

Then he retired again. This time, for good. What a way to get away from a great playing career.

A movie could be made from the last year of Weddle’s life.

“It was a hiccup to say the least,” he said. “To go from being a dad and training your son to live a crazy six-week dream; to go back and play in the NFL, which I thought the dream came true two years ago and to end up with a fairy tale ending with the Super Bowl is hard to fathom.”

AP22045127935342.jpg

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, right, celebrates defensive back Eric Weddell after the Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, February 13, 2022, in Englewood, California.

Mark J. Terrell, The Associated Press

A week after winning his first Super Bowl, Rancho Bernardo Hay announced in San Diego that Weddle will take over as head coach after the 2022 season.

Prior to last Saturday’s game, he addressed the Utah team and encouraged them to do exactly what he did — seize their opportunities.

Weddle arrived on campus in Utah in 2003 where he described it as “Little, punk A kid in California trying to prove myself.”

His induction into the school’s Hall of Fame certainly wasn’t part of his life plans.

“I never thought this could happen in my wildest dreams,” he said, while expressing his gratitude for the honor.

Still bleeding red

Weddle has been a part of, and has witnessed, the rise of the Utah football program over the past two decades—from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12; From Urban Era Meyer to me The Kyle Whittingham era.

So he has an interesting perspective on what happened to Utes during that time.

Seated at the 40-yard line, several rows, at The Swamp on Sept. 3, seated next to fellow Ute fan, Weddle I watched Utah fall 29-26 in Florida.

“It just hit me. I’m in The Swamp, watching my university play. Twenty years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible. You could never have written a script that said, ‘Utah is going to play on the road in The Swamp.'” Weddell said. months, we were Playing in the Rose Bowl. So much has happened that you just look and smile and are so proud of it. We had a little hand in it but these guys really took it to the next level.”

Weddle remains a huge supporter of not only the program, but his family as well.

His 13-year-old son, Gage, loves the Utes family. One night, Weddell asked Gaige what would happen if I offered him a scholarship archrival BYU.

“What if your only scholarship (offer) is Team Down South?” Wadel remembers. “He’s like, ‘I’m going to community college, Dad. “We’re like, Gage, stop being stupid. Seriously. This is a good school. It’s just full of red. It’s tough. We love it.”

Weddle played during Whittingham’s first season as head coach in 2005. He has praised Whittingham for her “consistency and willingness to adapt” over the years.

09102022_UU_FB_Utah_vs._SUU_at_edits_33.JPG

Eric Weddell of Utah State, rear right, poses with his fellow Utah Athletics Hall of Fame 2022 classmates during the first half of a Utah game against Southern Utah on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

“From where it was in 2005, his first year, to now a big change for Coach Witt,” Weddell said. “Fire, intensity doesn’t fade and doesn’t change but some things have changed. Great coaches are willing to adapt, change, learn and listen to your assistants and players. The greatest coaches I’ve been with are the ones who listen to us. … I try to take little bits from every coach and every man I admire. He is definitely at the top of the list.”

Weddell added that Utah’s program represented excellence off the field, not just on the field, noting the high graduation rate of Utes’ athletes, just behind Stanford University. He praised the school for preparing its athletes for life after sports.

“That’s what we preach. That’s it,” he said. The aim of the University and its staff is to develop, nurture and educate these young people to be leaders and to be the future of their cities and communities and to do it the right way. That stems from Coach Witt and his coaching style, how he loves and how he takes care of the boys and tries to implement that every day — the routine, how you work, how you persevere through adversity.”

These are the qualities Whittingham instills in his players, Weddell added.

“In the real world, there would be no one. You would have to remember those experiences about how you went through them,” he said. “I can honestly say that’s how I learned to be today from here. … It’s easy to come out of this program better than I was.”

Weddle is also very proud of the program, and what it accomplished under the former athletic director Chris Hill And the Current Mark HarlanIt is far from satisfied. Knows that Utah which Won his first Pac-12 title Last season, he is capable of more.

What is the roof of the Utah football stadium?

“The top is a national championship. That’s the standard. We’re not here to just be good. We want to be great,” he said. No consolation for this program. We’re not just happy that we went to the Rose Bowl. We’re disappointed we didn’t win it. Just like Last week (in Florida) – This loss and how the game went is going to motivate this team for the rest of the season. We expected to win that game. Things happened and we didn’t get it done. But that’s the ultimate goal. We don’t play second.”

merlin_2416670.jpg

A fan of Eric Weddle of the University of Utah cheers after Weddle picks up a confusion and sends her back down during the game against Wyoming on Saturday, October 14, 2006.

August Miller, Deseret News

Weddle knows how far the program has come and what it will take to reach the next level.

“We have been building. It has been a long process. It was not easy coming from West Mountain. We worked hard to get to this level of competition and win championships. The next step is to finish it. That is the driving force.” The step that goes ahead. Keep hitting until you drop him to the ground.

“I think they have everything here to compete and win. It’s just about making your chances and making the most of them. Every opportunity counts. … If you meet each other halfway and do your part, special things can happen. I’ve experienced it myself.”

Yes he has.

As a retired NFL player, new member of the Utah Hall of Fame, husband and father, and high school coach, Weddle will continue to do what he can to elevate the Utah football program.

“I see the boys and tell the coach, ‘Either I’m shrinking and these guys are getting taller or these guys are turning into these extraterrestrial athletes who are playing at a completely different level than I could have ever had,'” he said. “It’s really special to be a part of this program and to try to represent it in the right way. Now, it’s good to have time to be able to come back and support them, not just from afar, but to be at the games and to be around the boys and try to shine some light and help them in any way possible.”

merlin_2501020.jpg

Utah’s Eric Weddell, left, and Casey Evans celebrate after Weddell recovers from a stumble against Air Force One during a game on September 22, 2005.

Leave a Comment