Even more than the replay on Lincoln Financial Field's 96.5 x 26.5 foot video boards, and the subsequent replays that followed on TV and YouTube all week long after, what I can't get out of my mind about Leonard Weaver's horrific injury is the sound. Never have nearly 70,000 people groaned in such unison the way they did after watching the replay of a Weaver's leg, well... it's Friday, let's leave it at that.
We haven't talked about it much, as it was somewhat forgotten amid the sea of injuries the Eagles navigated in 2010, but when you see something like that, you have to question whether the man will ever play football again. Weaver has insisted he will, but CSN's Reuben Frank is reporting a source says that would be unlikely.
Frank's story revealed Weaver recently underwent his third surgery since suffering the injury, laying out the details of his most recent operation and why there is skepticism he'll play football again. It's a long road, to say the least.
So looking at it from a personnel standpoint, where does that leave the Eagles in 2011, assuming Weaver isn't an option?
On one hand, Owen Schmitt was a pleasant surprise in his stead. He's not as dynamic as Weave in the open field, but is still capable of carrying the football or catching passes, and gets the job done as a blocker as well. Schmitt also spent several years in the West Coast offense with the Seattle, so he's well versed in the system.
Then again, there's no accounting for the drop off between an All Pro and the guy who was still waiting for a team to call in September. Even at the fullback position, where its relevance is questionable in a league increasingly focused on throwing the ball, it's a major blow. It's one less playmaker at the offense's disposal.
With there not being many great fullbacks floating around the NFL, chances are they can't replace that. The Eagles will likely bring in some competition this summer, but Schmitt could conceivably be back with the Birds in 2011.
In the grand scheme however, it's obviously more important Weaver gets healthy to live a simple, everyday life. It seems even that much has been a tall order, but Weave continues to keep his spirits high throughout the ordeal, and it sounds like serious progress is being made.