Running backs in today’s league are being used in many different ways. Along with running, they have to know how to block, catch, play special teams and even in some cases, throw the ball. While many backs aren’t a big receiving threat out of the backfield, there is one running back that has made a huge difference receiving out of the backfield. That player is Brian Westbrook, running back for the Philadelphia Eagles. And though he is very well known for his receiving abilities, he is also a great runner and has been in the top 10 league rushing leaders for the past two years.

Brian Collins Westbrook was born on September 2, 1979 in Washington D.C. Westbrook attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. He was a letterman in football and basketball. As a junior, Westbrook was named to the first team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. He was also an All-State Honorable Mention selection. As a senior, he was a first team All-League selection, first team All-Prince George County selection, and for the second year in a row, All-State Honorable Mention selection. Westbrook was also a very good student, graduating DeMatha Catholic in 1997 with a 3.6 GPA and having been named on the honor roll 3 times.

After high school, Westbrook decided to attend Villanova University. Though he battled through some injuries during his college career, Westbrook finished his career at Villanova with 725 rushing attempts, 4,298 rushing yards (6.2 average), 219 receptions, and 2,582 receiving yards. In 46 career games Westbrook scored 84 touchdowns. Westbrook also added 2,289 yards and four touchdowns on special teams.

Westbrook holds the NCAA record for all-purpose yards with an astounding 9,512 yards from scrimmage. He set 41 school records, along with 13 Atlantic Ten conference records. He also set five NCAA records. Westbrook is the only player in college football history to rush and receive for 1,000+ yards in the same season. In 2001, Westbrook received the Walter Payton Award (top player in NCAA division 1-AA). As a senior, Westbrook piled up 2,823 all-purpose yards and scored 29 touchdowns.

Though Westbrook proved what he could do in college, NFL teams were hesitant to draft him in the 2002 NFL Draft. Many teams didn’t draft him for these three reasons. First, his small size (he was listed at 5’8”, 200 lbs). Second, his injury history (he missed an entire college season due to a knee injury). Third, teams were concerned that he did not play for an NCAA division 1-A team. He was drafted in the third round, 91st overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2002, Westbrook’s rookie season, he saw limited time. He rushed for 193 yards on 46 carries. He did not score a rushing touchdown in his rookie season, but he did complete one pass that went for 25 yards and a touchdown. Westbrook also added 86 yards receiving on nine receptions.

Westbrook scored his first NFL touchdown in the third game of the 2003 season against the Buffalo Bills. This game was also his best game statistically at that point in his career, rushing for 96 yards and having a long rush of 62 yards. After his first touchdown against the Bills, Westbrook went on a streak of three games where he scored a rushing touchdown. The fourth game of that streak was against the New York Giants. In this game, Westbrook rushed for 67 yards. Though he did not rush for many yards, Westbrook provided a spark for the team as he returned a punt late in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. This return gave the Eagles a 14-10 win. The return also turned the season around and the Eagles went on to win eight more games in a row. He finished the season with 613 yards on 117 attempts and seven touchdowns. He also added 332 receiving yards on 37 receptions for four touchdowns. The Eagles made it to the playoffs in the 2003 season, but Westbrook was unable to play due to a torn tricep muscle which he suffered in the last game of the season.

After the departure of Duce Staley in the off season and primary running back Correll Buckhalter going down with an injury in preseason, Westbrook gained the starting spot at running back. In the first game of the 2004 season, Westbrook registered his first career 100 yard rushing game against the New York Giants. On 17 attempts, Westbrook rushed for 119 yards and had a long of 50 yards. He also added 42 yards receiving on three receptions. In week four against the Chicago Bears, Westbrook registered another 100 yard game. On 22 attempts, Westbrook amassed 119 yards. He also added 63 yards receiving on nine receptions. Another highlight game for Westbrook was in week 13 against the Green Bay Packers. In this game, Westbrook rushed for 37 yards on 12 attempts. Even though his rushing stats were not great, his receiving stats were outstanding, catching 11 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and they went on to the playoffs. Westbrook finished the regular season with 812 yards on 177 attempts and three touchdowns. He also led NFL running backs with 703 yards receiving on 73 receptions and six touchdowns.

In the playoffs, Westbrook played very well, rushing for 210 yards on 43 attempts. He added 146 receiving yards on 17 receptions and two touchdowns, including one receiving touchdown in a Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots. Westbrook was also named to his first career Pro Bowl.
In the off season, Westbrook and the Eagles agreed to a 5-year extension after he held out of training camp the next year.

Westbrook was now the primary back for the Eagles. Unfortunately, Westbrook was only able to play in 13 regular season games before getting injured in a 42-0 Monday Night Football loss to the Seattle Seahawks. In these 12 games, Westbrook only had one 100 yard rushing game in week 12 against the Green Bay Packers. In this game, Westbrook rushed for 120 yards on 20 attempts. He added 11 receiving yards on four receptions. His season totals for the disappointing 2005 season were 617 rushing yards on 156 attempts and three touchdowns. He also added 616 receiving yards on 61 receptions and four touchdowns.

Westbrook came off his injury suffered in the 2005 season very well. Though the first few weeks of the season were shaky due to a swollen knee. In the third week of the season against the San Francisco 49ers, Westbrook had another 100 yard game. On eight carries, he rushed for 117 yards (14.6 average) and two touchdowns. He had a career long 71 yard touchdown rush. He also added 47 yards receiving on four receptions. Four weeks later against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Westbrook had another 100 yard game, gaining 101 yards on 13 carries. He also added 113 receiving yards on seven receptions and one 52 yard receiving touchdown. After a disappointing week against Jacksonville, Westbrook became the first running back in team history to rush for 100+ yards in three consecutive games (113 against Washington, 102 against Tennessee, and 124 against Indianapolis) since Wilbert Montgomery did it 25 years earlier. Four weeks later, Westbrook added his last 100+ yard rushing game of the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys, gaining 122 yards on 26 carries. His eight 100+ yard rushing games tied a team record with Wilbert Montgomery. He finished the season with 1,217 rushing yards on 240 attempts and seven touchdowns. He also added 699 receiving yards on 77 receptions and four touchdowns. His 1,916 total yards from scrimmage ranks third in team history.

In the first playoff game against the New York Giants, he rushed for a career high 141 yards on 20 attempts and scored one touchdown. He had a long rush in this game of 49 yards. The Eagles won this game 23-20 and moved on to the NFC Divisional game against the New Orleans Saints. In this game, Westbrook rushed for 116 yards on 13 attempts and scored two touchdowns. He had a long rush of 62 yards. Though Westbrook had a great game, the Eagles lost 27-24. Westbrook became the first back in NFL history to record touchdowns of 49+ yards in consecutive games. His 7.8 yards per carry in the playoffs was the highest in NFL history since Hall of Famer Marcus Allen averaged 8.0 yards per carry in 1983. Westbrook was also named the first alternate in the Pro Bowl game.

After a great 2006 season, Westbrook was starting to establish himself as one of the most productive backs in the league, and his season in 2007 was another great one. In the third week of the 2007 season, Westbrook got his first 100+ yard rushing game of the season against the Detroit Lions. On 14 carries, he gained 110 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a great receiving game, catching five passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. After not playing against the New York Giants the next week due to an abdominal strain and a bye week, Westbrook had another 100+ yard game against the New York Jets in week six. He rushed for 120 yards on 20 carries. He also added 36 yards receiving on six receptions. Westbrook’s next 100+ yard game was against the Washington Redskins in week 10. He rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown. He also added 83 yards receiving on five receptions and two touchdowns, one of which was a 57 yard game-winning reception.

The next week, Westbrook had another 100+ yard game, rushing for a career high 148 yards on a career high 32 carries against the Miami Dolphins. The next week against the New England Patriots, Westbrook rushed for 52 yards on 17 attempts and scored one touchdown, which was his 50th touchdown of his career, making him only one of eight players in Eagles history to do so. Against the Seattle Seahawks the next week, Westbrook rushed for 93 yards on 21 attempts and scored one touchdown. He also recorded a 64 yard punt return for a touchdown. In week 14, the Eagles faced the Giants for the 2nd time in the 2007 season, and Westbrook was able to play this game and contributed 116 yards rushing on 20 attempts. He also added 38 receiving yards on five receptions and he also scored one touchdown. In week 16, Westbrook recorded his sixth and final 100+ yard game of the season against the New Orleans Saints. He rushed for 100 yards on 17 attempts.

Westbrook finished the season with 1,333 yards (third highest rushing total in the league) on 278 attempts and he scored seven touchdowns. He also added 771 yards receiving on 90 receptions and scored five touchdowns. His rushing and receiving totals also made him the most productive player in the league, totaling 2,104 yards from scrimmage. He was also ranked first in total first downs with 104. Though his team went 8-8, Westbrook was named to the NFC Pro Bowl squad.

Westbrook has been more productive in years past than more people know about. He is first on yards per touch among NFL running backs in the time span from 2003-2007, averaging 5.9 yards per touch. He is also is atop the NFL’s top receiving backs since 2003, having 338 receptions (18 more than second place LaDainian Tomlinson), 3,121 yards (602 more than second place Tomlinson), and 23 touchdowns (10 more than second place Tomlinson). Westbrook is also the leader for consecutive games with a reception by a running back with 62 games.

Westbrook is rising up the ranks as a running back, the value of his cards is also climbing rapidly. Here is a list of some of his better rookie cards and rookie autos that he has out:

Best RCs:
-Fleer Platinum #315 BV 20^
-Playoff Prime Signatures #82 BV 25^
-Donruss Elite #113 BV 30^

Best Rookie Autos:
-Bowman Chrome #223 BV 60
-Leaf Rookies and Stars Rookie Autos #127 BV 60^
-Playoff Prime Signatures Auto #82 BV 80^