Westbrook worried after concussions

Updated: December 9, 2009, 5:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

After suffering two concussions in a three-week span, Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook said he's concerned about his future in the NFL and beyond.

"I'm worried about it," Westbrook said on HBO's "Joe Buck Live" on Tuesday. "Concussions have been all over the headlines and all over the papers, and it has been on the top of my mind since the Redskins game on the 26th of October."

The 30-year-old Westbrook has missed three straight games.

"I'm very concerned just because there is not a lot of data that says in 10 years or 20 years you'll be fine if you had too many concussions," he said in the interview. "I'm worried about that, and, hopefully, next time I go out there I don't have to worry about it anymore.

"That's my biggest concern. How am I going to be when I'm 50 or when I'm 60? Will I have all these brain diseases and will I have a problem remembering things? ... Now, I'm trying to get myself together with the help of the doctors as well as coach [Andy] Reid and the training staff. Now, the most important thing is to get 100 percent healthy -- and not play football ... until I'm 100 percent healthy."

Westbrook, who returned to practice Wednesday, said he wasn't completely healed the last time he returned to the Eagles.

"That's what the doctor said, he said that although some of the symptoms were gone, I was not healed completely," Westbrook said.

"Me and [head athletic trainer] Rick [Burkholder], the trainers and the coaching staff, we did every test we could, but until you get hit, you're not so sure if you're healed completely. It's not like an ankle, you can feel it every single day or a knee. A concussion is a different thing for me. It just wasn't healed completely."

Westbrook sat out two games and returned against San Diego on Nov. 15, only to sustain another concussion when he got sandwiched between a blocker and a tackler on a screen play.

He has since been examined twice by specialists in Pittsburgh, and has been cleared to return to practice. Westbrook will work with the scout team, and Reid hasn't ruled him out for Sunday's game at the New York Giants.

"You gradually get him back in, take baby steps," Reid said. "I'm not going to throw him in if he's not feeling right."

Westbrook didn't sound like a guy who expects to play this week.

"I think all the signs right now are aiming toward being able to play before the end of the season," he said.

While Westbrook eases his way back, wide receiver DeSean Jackson expects to play against the Giants after missing one game with a concussion. The dynamic playmaker was a full participant at Wednesday's practice.

"I'm pretty much good," Jackson said, "back to normal, back to being DeSean Jackson."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.