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Eagles RB Westbrook signs extension

PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 6, 2005) -- Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook signed a five-year contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Westbrook had been seeking a long-term deal since the end of last season. He held out the first week of training camp and ended talks in September after saying he was "disrespected" by the team's offer.

"I'm glad the Eagles have recognized my talents and dedication to this team," Westbrook said. "Philadelphia is a great football city and a great place to play and we have had a winning tradition on this team that I want to continue to be a part of. The fans are very passionate and have been very supportive of me and this team."

Westbrook, who has complained about not getting enough carries this season, had only 24 yards rushing on 17 carries in a 17-10 loss to Washington. He has rushed for 328 yards and one touchdown, and has 43 catches for 478 yards and four TDs this season.

With the Eagles needing 4 yards for a first down and 7 yards for a possible tying touchdown in the final minutes against the Redskins, Westbrook inexplicably wasn't on the field for the final two plays.

A fourth-year pro, Westbrook had a breakout year in 2004 with 812 yards rushing and 73 catches for 703 yards in 13 games. He signed a one-year restricted free agent offer for $1.43 million in the offseason.

"Brian is a big part of this offense and a big part of this team as a representative on and off the football field," coach Andy Reid said. "I'm really happy for Brian. It's a great thing for him and the team to have him signed to a long-term contract. I really believe both the player and the team benefit from each other."

Westbrook's contract situation had been overshadowed by Terrell Owens' demands for a new deal and the All-Pro wideout's volatile relationship with management and his feud with quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Owens was suspended indefinitely by the Eagles, two days after he criticized the organization for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch two weeks ago.

A third-round pick from Villanova in 2002, Westbrook's size -- he's generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds in Philadelphia's media guide -- caused doubts he'd be able to handle the rigors of being a featured back.

But he missed just one game because of injury last year, with a broken rib, and missed only one regular-season game in both 2002 and 2003. He did miss the postseason two years ago with a torn triceps.

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