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Rivers Will Square Off Against Weddle at Pro Bowl
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When he learned he’d been voted into the Pro Bowl, Eric Weddle had one simple hope. That was to be selected on the same team as Philip Rivers in the first ever Pro Bowl Draft.
In a last-minute twist, it was announced moments before the first selection that two quarterbacks would be the final two picks of the entire draft. Thus, when it was down to just three quarterbacks and Deion Sanders unable to select one until the end, that meant that Rivers, Alex Smith and Nick Foles would remain in the green room until the very end. But in true Rivers fashion, he took the whole thing in stride.
“The whole rules and how it’s been constructed, I guess they are tired of the quarterbacks being picked early,” he said in an interview in the midst of the draft. “So it’s kind of crazy to mandate the last two picks would be quarterbacks. So I’ve kind of gone the reverse and am just enjoying it and not really waiting around and worrying about where I’m taken.”
The twist also meant the two Chargers had to wait nearly three hours to find out if they’d be teammates or foes. Unfortunately, Weddle’s wish didn’t come true as he was drafted by Sanders with the first pick of the 17th round while Rivers was picked by Jerry Rice with the second pick of the 23rd round. Now they are set to oppose each other, which is also just fine for Weddle.
“I’d love to wreck shop together,” Weddle said when he first made the Pro Bowl. “But if not it would be fun too to go against him.”
So who will come out on top in the battle between Rivers and Weddle? That will be decided on Sunday. One thing that’s certain though is that each team got a big time player that will have an impact come game time.
Rivers was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after completing a team-record, career-best and NFL-leading 69.5% of his passes (378 of 544) for 4,478 yards (third-highest of his career). He threw 32 touchdowns (second-most of his career) and just 11 interceptions for a career and team record-tying passer rating of 105.5. Rivers also set a team mark for single-season completions with 378 and he ended the regular season having thrown a touchdown in 20 straight games, tied for the second-longest streak in team history.
Weddle on the other hand was named the Bolts Defensive Player of the Year after leading the team with 114 tackles. He topped 100 tackles and led the team for the second year in a row, while eclipsing the century mark for the third time in seven professional seasons. Weddle also tied for the team lead with two interceptions during the regular season, and he was second on the squad with 10 passes defensed.
The safety stole the show earlier in the evening with a green room interview to remember. Just about two hours into the event, he sprawled on the ground and spoke about still waiting for his name to be called.
“It doesn’t really matter (where I go),” he said. “I’m just chilling. (It’s) been 17 hours in here right now. But when it comes to Sunday, and I told both coaches, they’re going to regret along with everyone in this room (because) I’ll be on the field in the fourth quarter and ready to wreck shop.”