Did Eagles tamper with Westbrook?

Brian Westbrook is technically still on the 49ers roster, but he said he talks regularly with Eagles coach Andy Reid and would love to return to his former team. Sounds like tampering, doesn't it?

That was a curious remark by Brian Westbrook, wasn't it? While being interviewed by CSNPhilly.com recently, Westbrook said he speaks frequently with Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid. He also said he'd love to return to Philly, where he played his first eight NFL seasons.

The only problem is that Westbrook is technically still a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He won't become a free agent until the league year ends, and that hasn't happened yet because owners and players are still trying to reach a new agreement on collective bargaining.

It also suggests that Westbrook has been talking to Reid for quite some time – perhaps while he was still playing for the 49ers? If so, that's clearly a no-no and would subject the Eagles to punishment by the league.

"I talk to coach Reid every week or so," Westbrook said. "We always talk. I would love to be back in Philly, so we'll see how things go. I think I can help. I think they have a very good group of young guys on the team as far as every position. But I still think I can help this team win."

The 49ers have given no indication they'd want to bring back Westbrook, who filled in capably after running back Frank Gore went down with a broken hip and finished the season with 340 yards rushing and five touchdowns. But head coach Jim Harbaugh has already said that Anthony Dixon would likely see increased playing time behind Gore.

Based on Westbrook's comments, the 49ers could surely filed a tampering claim against the Eagles, but Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area tweeted that the team had no comment on the subject when he inquired.

Our take: It's doubtful the Niners will make an issue of it. They're probably not interested in a return by Westbrook, so it makes little sense to cause a fuss over a player who won't be back anyway.


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