In his introductory press conference in San Francisco, former Eagle Brian Westbrook made it clear that he was with the 49ers to be a backup and he’s accepted that role.
“Frank’s the man. Frank’s the man. He’s done tremendous things in the past, Pro Bowls, a talented guy. I’ve respected his game from afar. In Philly, I watched and studied him an awful lot. I respect him a whole lot. I’m going to go out there and push him as much as I can, help him as much as I can and I’m sure he’ll do the same thing for me, continue to make me better. Of course, he’ll be the starter, but I’ll be the guy right behind him pushing him and I’ll be ready for any chance I get go out on the field and make plays.”
He was also asked if he still considers himself an every down back and why he didn’t look for a team where he had a chance to start:
“I do consider myself and every-down back, a guy that can carry the load. I truly do. I think at this point in my career, I think the wise thing for me to do is go to a place that has a guy that can share the load. I’ve completely carried the load for a long time in Philly and I was complimented by a couple of guys, especially [Philadelphia RB] Correll Buckhalter. I think at this point in my career, it’s the best thing for me to go to a place that definitely has a winning tradition, but also has a guy that can share the load as well.”
Of course, the real answer is that it’s unlikely any team would have offered him a chance to start at this point. That said, his role with the 49ers does suit him well. Frank Gore will carry the load and Westbrook can be limited to working as a 3rd down or obvious passing situation back. He’s still going to be good in blitz pickup and probably still dangerous on screens. And while Westbrook probably can’t handle another full season as a starting RB, if Gore does go down, a team could do a lot worse than Brian Westbrook filling in for a few weeks.