Eric Weddle's time in San Diego came to an unceremonious close this offseason as the Chargers let him walk out the door after a bitter relationship during the last year. The Chargers made it clear going into last season that they planned to move on from Weddle in 2016, bringing an end to his nine-year run with the franchise.
Weddle signed with the Ravens this offseason on a four-year deal, and despite how the relationship with San Diego ended, Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy had nothing but good things to say about his time with the veteran safety.
"He is an outstanding football player who is one of the smartest defenders I've ever been around," McCoy said at the NFL owners meetings last week.
McCoy, who spent the last three seasons with Weddle in San Diego, was a long-time quarterbacks coach with the Panthers and Broncos before taking over the Chargers. Weddle's mindset and approach to the game reminded McCoy of the quarterbacks he had worked with over the years.
"Having worked with quarterbacks for a long time, he was the quarterback of the defense," McCoy said. "It's amazing."
McCoy pointed to the hours Weddle spent in the team facility. The 31-year-old safety is known as a workhorse, and McCoy expects him to bring some of the young players in Baltimore under his wing.
"I don't know if there is this in Baltimore now, but there is going to be a breakfast club," McCoy said. "He'll be in there at 4:30, 5 o'clock in the morning from time-to-time, and he'll be one of the last guys to leave. He truly loves the game of football, and his preparation, everything he does leading up to the games is second to none, defensively.
"If you're smart as a young player, you kind of follow their lead. It takes a great commitment to do what Eric did, the way he worked week in and week out during the season."
Despite McCoy's high regard for Weddle, the team still decided to move on from him after he performed as one of the league's best safeties and hardly missed a game during his San Diego tenure. McCoy didn't get into the specifics of why they decided to go that route, but stressed how much Weddle meant to the team during his time with the organization.
"There's a time and place for everything," McCoy said. "It's a business, and you have to make tough decisions in this business. We wish him nothing but the best, and we can't thank him enough for what he did in San Diego, from the first day he was there."