Eric Weddle: Chargers misrepresenting contract talks

ByEric D. Williams via ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
ESPN

SAN DIEGO -- Eric Weddle wanted to clear the air.

The veteran safety for the San Diego Chargers reported to the team's mandatory minicamp on Tuesday after skipping offseason work. After practice, Weddle opened up his news conference by reading from a prepared statement, seeking to clarify what he deemed were misleading comments that had been made by the organization about his contract situation.

Weddle said that contrary to what Chargers general manager Tom Telesco stated last week, the two sides have not discussed contract figures. Weddle added that if he's unable to negotiate a multiyear deal with the Chargers before training camp begins July 30, he has instructed his agent to not speak with the Chargers again, making 2015 his final season in San Diego.

"Despite our attempts to discuss an extension on multiple occasions, unfortunately the desire has not been mutual," Weddle said. "Contrary to what has recently been said by upper management, there has never been any financial numbers discussed, and the Chargers have never put an offer on the table for us to consider.

"It's obvious that I'm not part of this organization's long-term plan. The NFL is a business, and I can accept that. I just wish the organization had been up-front with me from Day 1."

The 30-year-old safety enters the final year of his contract and has skipped the Chargers' voluntary workouts amid desires for a new deal. Weddle said he felt disrespected by the way the organization is handling negotiations.

Weddle led the defense by playing 961 snaps last season. Since 2008, Weddle has played an average of 937 snaps during the regular season. He is the only safety in the NFL named first or second-team All-Pro for five straight seasons. Weddle is scheduled to make $7.5 million in base salary in the final year of a five-year, $40 million deal. That makes Weddle the third-highest-paid safety in terms of total compensation in 2015.

However, part of the issue for Weddle is security. The last year of his contract is nonguaranteed salary, leaving him vulnerable to having to take a pay cut should the team want to move on before the regular season begins.

"My career could end tomorrow," Weddle said. "I give everything -- and I'm not out here saying I deserve this or that I want this -- it's just that you want to be with the team that you've been with your whole career.

"And the way to do that is an extension. And I think I've played at a high enough level to earn it. And when your team doesn't feel that way, you have to move on."

Weddle said he talked with other players around the league that he remains close with for guidance, such as former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and former Chargers tight end Randy McMichael.

Weddle said he met in person with Telesco during the second week of organized team activities. His agent David Canter has been dealing directly with San Diego's contract negotiator Ed McGuire. The two indicated part of the issue with Weddle is that he turns 31 years old in January, and age could affect the All-Pro safety's production moving forward. However, Weddle believes he has more gas left in the tank.

"I'm not going to play if I'm not one of the top-tier guys, and playing at a high level, productive and helping the team win," Weddle said. "I see myself playing four, five or six more years. I'm getting better and my body is maturing. I'm getting healthier. Until I see a reason why not, then that's what I'll believe."

Quarterback Philip Rivers said he was pleased to have Weddle back on the field again.

"He raises the level of the guys around him," Rivers said. "He brings some energy to the practice that we haven't had as much. It's been a solid offseason. That's not to shortchange the group that we've had out there. But there's no denying he makes us a better team. So it was good to have him back out there."

And Weddle was happy to be back plying his trade.

"My teammates support me and love me, and that's what you have in this team," Weddle said. "They've stayed out of it. They've lent me their support. I know that they have my back, and that's all you can ask for."

Related Video