Foles Reflects on a ‘Crazy Journey’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - From pondering retirement to starting in the NFC Championship Game, that's been the trajectory of Nick Foles' life over the past couple of years.
Since his magical 27-and-2 season under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, Foles was traded to St. Louis and lost his job, along with the "love for the game."
By 2016, at just 26, Foles was seriously thinking about calling it a career.
"There's going to be some point when we're all finished playing this game," the QB explained on Wednesday. "And I had to take a week off when I was a free agent to think about it, and it's the best thing that ever happened."
Foles took time to reminisce four days before the apex of his career, the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, an affair in which his counterpart, Case Keenum, was a teammate, a friend, and the guy who took over as the Rams starting QB when Jeff Fisher decided to move away from Foles.
"I had to take a step back and say, 'Am I doing this for the right reasons?'" the QB said. "Because if I can't do it with my heart, I can't do it. I've always said that. When you have your heart in something you give it everything you have, and that's the important thing."
At 28 now Foles ultimately decided to forge ahead as the backup in Kansas City under the guy who drafted him, Andy Reid, before re-signing with the Eagles this offseason to play for his first position coach, Doug Pederson, and backup rising superstar Carson Wentz.
"I know where my heart is," Foles said. "My heart is being in Philly, being with these guys, being on that field and stepping into the huddle knowing that each guy is playing for each other. That's a special thing."
Foles was thrust back into a leading role when Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14 against the now-Los Angeles Rams in the midst of a dream season.
The results haven't necessarily been aesthetic for Foles but the Eagles have only lost one game since the Wentz injury and that was the Week 17 meaningless affair against Dallas in which Foles and the offensive starters played only a quarter.
A hard-fought division-round win over the Falcons has the Eagles preparing for the conference title tilt on their home field and just 60 minutes away from the franchise's third Super Bowl appearance.
A self-described "crazy journey" for Foles.
"Professional athletes have moments where we have to step back and assess everything in our lives," Foles explained. "I have a family. I have a wife. I have a daughter. I have a dog. I have to step back and assess because that's so important to me. In these moments when we're playing in these championship games, you do reflect."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen