Fullback Leonard Weaver, who hasn't played since injuring his left leg early in the 2010 season, told the Philadelphia Daily News this week that he might never return to the NFL.
"My heart is to get back," Weaver told the newspaper, "but it's not going to happen this season. It's tough."
Weaver was hurt while being tackled after his first carry in the Eagles' 2010 season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers. In addition to tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and posterior lateral corner in his knee, Weaver suffered serious nerve damage, according to the Daily News.
"The muscle in the front of your leg that helps you (flex your foot)? Completely destroyed," he said this week.
The nerve damage is largely what's preventing Weaver from playing. He told the newspaper that when he visited the Eagles' training complex for a checkup this week, he still couldn't move his foot normally.
"I failed," Weaver said. "My foot didn't work."
Weaver said Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon who operated on his injured knee, told him when he began his rehab that "it's 99 percent a sure thing that you'll never play again."
Before the 2010 season, Weaver signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the Eagles, making him the highest-paid fullback in the game. The deal included $6.5 million in guaranteed money, which the newspaper reported he's still collecting, though the Eagles cut him before the 2011 season.
Weaver made the Pro Bowl in 2009, his first season with the Eagles, after carrying the ball 70 times for 323 yards and two touchdowns and catching 15 passes for 140 yards and two scores. In five NFL seasons, the 29-year-old has 679 yards rushing and 687 receiving, with three touchdowns on the ground and four through the air.
Weaver said that although he still wants to play, he's considered the likelihood he won't be able to recover from the injury.
"Football is not my God. ... We all have to move on at some point," he said.