Brian Collins Westbrook (Born on September 2, 1979 in Fort Washington, Maryland) is an American football player who currently plays running back for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. He is considered one of the most consistent players, in terms of yardage, in the NFL. He is also one of the most elusive backs in the NFL, and is excellent at catching passes out of the backfield or as a slot receiver. For this reason, he is often compared to Marshall Faulk.
Westbrook played high school varsity football at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. The private, Catholic all-boys prep school has a storied tradition of athletic achievement, and Westbrook's play added to that legacy during his secondary school years. The school would not allow him to play as a freshman because of his 5'2" height.
After DeMatha, Westbrook became a standout running back at Villanova University from 1997–2001 and wore the number 20. Though he battled through several injuries, he holds the all-time NCAA record with 9,512 all-purpose yards, breaking the 9,301 yards accumulated by Brian Shay of Emporia State. In 46 career games, he scored 542 points with 84 TDs, carried the ball 725 times for 4298 yards (6.2 avg.), caught 219 passes for 2,582 yards and gained 2,289 yards and 4 TDs on kickoff returns. Along the way, he established 41 school, 13 Atlantic Ten Conference and 5 NCAA records.
He became the only player in I-AA history to score 160 or more points twice in a career and the first player in the history of college football at any level with 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in one season (1998). He is one of only two players in Villanova history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season and he accomplished that feat three times.
He was a consensus All-America and two-time A-10 offensive player of the year and was the 2001 recipient of the Walter Payton Award (as the top player in NCAA Division 1-AA). As a senior, he amassed 2,823 combined net yards and scored 29 touchdowns.
Despite his dominance in college, NFL teams were hesitant to draft him in the 2002 NFL Draft for three reasons: his small size (he listed at only 5'8", 200 lb (91 kg), his injury history (he missed an entire college season with a knee injury), and the fact that he did not play college football for a NCAA Division I-A school.
The Eagles took a risk, and picked the hometown favorite in the third round of that draft, and he has since blossomed into one of the NFL's most elusive players. Westbrook saw limited play in 2002, but he made his mark in the NFL in the 2003 season with a 4th quarter punt return for a touchdown to defeat the New York Giants 14-10 in the closing minutes on October 19, 2003. The play managed to turn the Eagles season around as they went to the NFC Championship Game. Westbrook, who scored eleven touchdowns by ground and air, missed the playoffs that year after injuring his biceps muscle in the final game of the season against the Washington Redskins.
After the departure of previous starter Duce Staley and a pre-season injury to Correll Buckhalter, Westbrook became the starting running back for 2004. He rushed for a career high 812 yards, led all NFL running backs in receiving with 73 receptions for 703 yards, and scored 9 touchdowns, creating numerous problems with opposing teams' defenses and helping to propel the Eagles to a 13-3 season. He went on to have a solid performance in Philadelphia's Super Bowl XXXIX loss to the New England Patriots, rushing for 44 yards, catching 7 passes for 60 yards, and scoring one touchdown. He was also added to his first Pro Bowl that February.
Westbrook signed a 5-year contract extension with the Eagles in November 2005, after holding out of training camp and months of hectic negotiations.
With over 1,200 yards rushing and receiving, it was announced on December 6, 2005, that Westbrook would miss the rest of the 2005 season due to a mid-foot injury he sustained during a 42-0 MNF loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Westbrook resumed his high level of play in 2006, despite early injury concerns over knee swelling.
He set a career-high in rushing yards with 1,217, topping 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. He also lead the team with 77 receptions with 699 receiving yards. His eleven total touchdowns (7 rushing/4 receiving) were also tops on the Eagles.
Draft: 2002 - 3rd round (26th pick) by the Philadelphia Eagles