Coming off an All-Pro season, Leonard Weaver seemed poised to have another big year. During Training Camp, he was one of the players that really stuck out to me. He seemed very explosive on every play, whether he was asked to block or run the ball and also looked good catching passes out of the backfield.
It seemed like there was an extra spring in his step, and he was definitely looking forward to the upcoming season. However, the 2010 season would be cut very short for Weaver.
Early in the second quarter of the Eagles season opener, Weaver was given a hand off and met two defenders at the line of scrimmage. His knee was bent back in a way that was very hard to watch (watch here at your own risk).
Weaver was placed on injured reserve and the Eagles promptly tried out former Seahawks fullback Owen Schmitt and former Jets fullback Jason Davis. The Eagles chose Schmitt and added him to the roster.
When Schmitt joined the roster we basically knew two things: 1) this guy like to smash helmets into his face and make himself bleed and 2) no matter how well he plays, he’s no Leonard Weaver.
With the bar not being set extremely high, Schmitt was able to really impress Eagles fans. Statistically, his numbers didn’t really blow anyone away. He had zero rushing attempts and recorded 19 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown did come at a very good time though, as it basically sealed the win against the Texans.
Schmitt did a lot of other things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Namely, he did what he was known for, hitting people (check this one out for example). He’s not the biggest fullback you’ve ever seen, but the guy is fearless. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how fast you’re coming in. If you’re in Schmitt’s way, he will hit you.
The thing that really made Eagles fans fall in love with Schmitt is the effort he puts forward on every play. He only had 19 catches this year, but he got everything he could out of each one. Multiple times this year he attempted to jump over defenders and keep going. If he wasn’t going to jump over you, he was going to try to run through you.
It’s easy to tell that Schmitt loves to play football and gives everything he’s got on every play. These efforts didn’t go unnoticed as Schmitt was elected as an alternate for this year’s Pro Bowl.
Weaver has tweeted that he will be ready for the 2011 season and is very optimistic. If you follow him on Twitter, you can see that he has a very positive attitude about his rehab and returning to football. However, doctors aren’t as positive as Weaver.
The rehab process is usually one that people can complete to regain normal movement in their leg again. This isn’t on the basis of someone doing it and coming back to play football though. Obviously, you’d love to see Weaver be able to make a return to football. It just seems the odds are against him.
The good news is the Eagles found a guy like Schmitt this year that stepped in nicely and can be expected to come back in 2011 to do the same.