The guy you know as Weddle Claus or just the man with the giant beard is not happy in San Diego at the moment. How does everyone know, you ask? Well, Eric Weddle himself said so on Mon. April 20, setting the stage for what could be a nasty holdout between him, his people and the Chargers.
It all boils down to money, and the fact that Weddle still hasn’t got what he wants for Christmas–or a new contract–boggles the mind. His current one–in which he’ll make $7.5 million–expires after the 2015 season.
Despite having two All-Pro seasons in a row and generally being one of the best free safeties in the NFL, the former Utah Utes star is left out on an island with his sleigh teasing the sand as the waves come crashing down around him. Or, is that the reality because he’s sitting in his uniform with his bushy white beard dangling over his toes on a sandy beach–and he’s over 30?
Either way, Weddle is more or less the Chargers’ best player, and so don’t you pay your best players the best wages? Apparently not. Weddle isn’t mincing words about feeling disrespected by the Chargers organization–in fact, those are the exact words he used with reporter Kevin Acee on Monday.
“I feel highly, highly disrespected,” Weddle said. “… It is what it is, but there is no reason for me to put out any more effort.”
Now before anyone thinks the sky around sunny San Diego is falling and waves come crashing down into Qualcomm Stadium in a hurricane of misery and broken seats, well, the workouts Weddle skipped this week are voluntary.
And so while Chargers fans are clearly in a state of panic over this, there is still a ray of hope looming over the horizon. #WeddleClaus may still get his wish this year and get a few more Christmas presents for his kids–and for the rest of his thousands of kids–under the old Weddle Family Christmas tree, because it’s early in the process.
That said, Weddle’s agent David Canter says he’s not complaining to the media–yet. Weddle himself skipping said workouts is a crystal clear sign that the man with the contract is irritated by the lack of action on the part of Chargers brass, who basically need to get off their asses and sign this man before it’s too late and he’s playing with a contender.
To give you an idea of how important Weddle is to the Chargers, he’s been their defensive captain for the past four years. He’s played in 80 straight games. He’s outlasted nine different free safeties on the Chargers in his NFL career, but now comes the kicker: he actually cares about missing these workouts.
Imagine if Adrian Peterson or Dez Bryant–or even teammate Philip Rivers–said this. You’d think they went crazy.
On this one occasion, when a good guy like Weddle actually sends you a sign that he’s frustrated and mouths the words “I want to retire a Charger,” in your immediate direction, you should listen.
Otherwise, you may find Weddle heading in the opposite direction–kind of like Rivers, who like Peterson and Bryant, is whining he wants his own way all the time. Maybe if Rivers would shut up and actually play like an All-Pro–like Weddle–the Chargers would actually win more than eight or nine games per season.
In the meantime, the main link in the chain to the Chargers actually winning games is gearing up to unhook his sleigh from the yule post at the stadium and unload his presents, and helmet, somewhere more inviting if things don’t change in a hurry.