Retirement was going great for former NFL safety Eric Weddle. As Sports Illustrated put it, “He went to church. Slept in. Made breakfast for the family. Packed school lunches. Spent time he could hardly find before with his wife and four children, ages 8 to 14.” But in early 2022, two players on Weddle’s former Rams team received season-ending injuries, and the team turned to Weddle to join their practice squad. He agreed, and soon Weddle wasn’t just practicing with the Rams—six weeks later, he was playing in the Super Bowl with them. In this excerpt from the All In podcast, Eric explains what it meant to him to have a dream he thought had died come back to life.
This excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Pearson: From the outside looking in, [your Super Bowl story] looks like an absolute fairy tale. But what did it feel like? And what did it mean to you, after you’ve put so many years into it, to then have that kind of closure?
Eric Weddle: Well, it was a lifelong goal. . . . That’s why you play, especially team sports—to win a championship, to be the very best. You do things individually along the way, but it’s always clouded when you have success as an individual, but your team stinks. It’s just not worth it in the long run; you’d much rather have a team success than the individual accolades.
To have this crazy moment, this lifelong opportunity, come about . . . was the ultimate dream—a dream that was dead for me two years ago. When I retired, it was never a possibility to even think about winning the Super Bowl or be a part of a team that had a chance. I was just the retired has been cheering on my squads. Any chance I could help out other guys and coaches during that time I was fine with, but to have [this chance was] just surreal.
I was grateful and humbled to even have the chance to be thought of. [I look] back at everything that’s happened over the course of my career that led to this decision of trying to bring me back. A lot of who I am is derived from my parents raising me the right way, having the gospel and the Church in my life, the way I tried to treat people, and the way I have a standard to try to hold. If I hadn’t been that way throughout my career, these coaches and players wouldn’t even have thought about asking me to come back. [But they believed] that if anyone could do it, probably Eric could; he’d be crazy enough to even think about it.
Now I’m not perfect. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. And that’s why the Savior is so beloved and cherished in my life for His Atonement and the things that we can overcome in life. So it’s all correlated with trying to do right and trying to treat people with love and kindness—and that good things happen to good people. I try my best to do those things, and to have it circle back, to have an actual prominent role in winning the Super Bowl for the Rams—it’s something that I’ll never forget. And there are reasons why those things happen: because you tried to do things the right way.
Listen to the full episode on ldsliving.com/allin or on the player below.