Brian Westbrook would like to continue playing despite experiencing several injuries in recent years - including two concussions last season - but it won't be with the Eagles.
The team announced on its website that it will be releasing the 30-year-old running back. He will be waived on March 5, the first day of the 2010 league year.
"Brian is one of the greatest Eagles of all time, and he is even a better person and a leader," said head coach Andy Reid, who took the undersized Westbrook in the third round of the 2002 draft out of Division I-AA Villanova. "In my mind, there has not been a more versatile running back that the NFL has seen. I had a conversation with Brian this morning to let him know. This is by far the most difficult part of this job. We wanted to make this move now in order to maximize Brian's chances of landing with another NFL team."
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie called Westbrook "one of the most electric players in the history of this franchise and is certainly one of the most popular. He was personally one of my favorite players to watch and his playmaking abilities, leadership and values will be missed."
The move is as much a financial one as anything. Westbrook was scheduled to make $7.25 million in 2010. But it's not as if the Eagles hadn't prepared for this eventuality; they drafted Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy in the second round last year. It is expected that McCoy will now take over as the full-time feature back, a role he assumed during Westbrook's injury-related absences last year.
McCoy rushed for a team-high 637 yards and four touchdowns this season, while Westbrook amassed 274 yards on the ground and another 181 through the air with two touchdowns in eight games played.
In his eight-year tenure in Philly, Westbrook had 5,995 yards rushing and another 3,790 receiving with 68 total touchdowns (including two on punt returns). He was a Pro Bowler in 2004 and 2007 and had 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2006 and 2007.