Following the Ravens' playoff exit, safety Eric Weddle reiterated his stance that the Ravens will be the last team he plays for. He's just not sure how much Baltimore wants him.
Weddle will meet with incoming General Manager Eric DeCosta on Tuesday to talk about his future. On Monday, Weddle made it clear to reporters where he stands.
"If [DeCosta] wants me back, I'm here. If not, then it's all good," Weddle said. "I understand it, and I'll just ride off into the sunset."
Yes, ride off into the sunset means he would retire after 12 NFL seasons. And if he comes back, 2019 would be his final year. His contract is set to expire after next season.
"If they want to go in a different direction, I'm not going to play for another team. That's not where I'm at in my career," Weddle said. "So it's either play my last year here and that'll be it and enjoy it, or this has been it. It's pretty simple. I'm a simple kind of guy."
Weddle was voted to the Pro Bowl once again this season, his third straight while in Baltimore. He was an instrumental part of the Ravens' top-ranked defense, getting everybody on the same page in the secondary and relaying the calls. Weddle's disguises helped Baltimore's secondary throw off some of the top quarterbacks in the game – including Los Angeles' Philip Rivers, twice.
On the flip side, Weddle just turned 34 years old, and the NFL is a business. Per Spotrac, Weddle is due to make $8.25 million next season – the same salary he had this season. The Ravens would save $6.5 million under the salary cap if they were to release him.
Weddle didn't make as many splash plays this season as he's accustomed to, finishing with zero interceptions after posting six a year ago. He had a career-low three pass breakups.
"I still have a desire to play, and I feel that I can still affect the game and dominate games," Weddle said. "I'm healthy and it won't be as much of a hard transition to the offseason as it was last year. So I'm excited for that."
Ravens players don't want to see Weddle – their energetic, hard-working, team rallying teammate – hang up his cleats.
"It definitely would be a big loss," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "I think everyone knows 'Dub' [Weddle] is a Pro Bowl guy. But, he's not just a player. I think I've said before, he's like having another coach back there. Losing a leader like that … would definitely be a big loss."
After Sunday's defeat, Weddle seemed to prepare himself for the possibility that he wouldn't return, and he looked back on his time in Baltimore fondly.
"I've enjoyed every second of it. It's the happiest I've ever been in my career, coming to work every day for this organization," Weddle said Sunday.
"So to be able to put on this jersey and represent this organization and the city that welcomed me with open arms three years ago has always been on my mind to try and make them proud. I always felt I was meant to be a Raven, and hopefully people understand that I tried to live that out, for sure."