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Leonard Weaver Walks the Long Road

Jul 26, 2011, 1:03 AM EDT

Leonard Weaver is beloved by Eagles fans, but thanks to the following video, we finally get to see the amazingly trying journey back to football Big Weave is going through.

Professional football is a brutal and unforgiving business. Injuries occur, the game stops, the player is helped off the field, and the game goes on. The game always goes on.

Fans quickly shift their thoughts from concern for the injured player to whether the unproven rookie, thrust into action, can step up and replace the production of the injured player. We wonder how the coaches will adjust the game plan to compensate for the loss. The game goes on.

But what happens when the game stops for the injured player? What happens when that player is as open, gregarious, and eternally optimistic as Leonard Weaver? Well, in the case of Big Weave and his Twitter feed we’re constantly reminded not to forget.

The injury Weaver suffered was gruesome. Fresh off of a Pro Bowl season in 2009 he was primed for a big year in 2010. Everything changed the opening week of the season against Green Bay. B.J. Raji and Nick Barnett converged on Weaver — Raji high, Barnett low — and the ligaments in Weave’s left knee essentially exploded. As if that wasn’t enough, he also suffered nerve damage.

At a minimum his season was done. More likely than not, the injury was a career ending. Four months after suffering the injury he couldn’t even lift his left foot. To this day he has no feeling in his left foot. Regaining the ability to walk normally would have been considered a successful recovery. But don’t tell that Leonard Weaver. He wants to come back. All the way back. [video below]

If you follow Weaver on Twitter you know all about his kids, his dogs (Mango and Dream), and his ongoing rehab. He makes Don Tollefson, aka Tolley Sunshine, seem depressed. What you don’t know is how challenging his rehab has really been.

Well, if you watch this video you’ll know. Comcast SportsNet’s Derrick Gunn traveled to Alabama and caught up with Weaver as he continues his rehab. The piece is fantastic. What took it to another level was when Kevin Wilk, Weaver’s physical therapist, a man who is trained to push elite athletes past their breaking point, breaks down himself. Wilk is simply overcome by emotion at the thought that Weaver might not make it back.

The piece is a shade over five minutes long, but is beyond worthwhile. Leonard Weaver has convinced himself that he’ll be back. Who are we to tell him otherwise? Lord knows the game goes on.

Photo Credit:Howard Smith – US Presswire