PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles coach Doug Pederson needed three tries to defend Carson Wentz from Brett Favre’s critical comments.

Favre said in a television interview Tuesday the Philadelphia Eagles should’ve kept Nick Foles over Wentz. Since Favre and Pederson played together in Green Bay and have been close friends for more than two decades, the Hall of Famer’s thoughts held more weight in Philadelphia than the average opinion.

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Wentz is on pace for the worst season of his five-year career but the Eagles (3-4-1) lead the NFC East despite numerous injuries that have forced the team to start 21 different players on offense.

Foles filled in when Wentz tore two knee ligaments in December 2017, led the Eagles to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title and was MVP in the victory over the New England. He also stepped in when Wentz injured his back in December 2018 and led the Eagles to a playoff win. Foles spent last season in Jacksonville and now starts for Chicago.

Pederson’s first response Wednesday when asked about Favre’s comments: “I respect Brett’s opinion. Yeah, we are friends, but I haven’t talked to him and he’s entitled to that and that’s about it.”

It’s possible Pederson didn’t want to criticize his buddy and figured it was obvious he supports Wentz.

Asked specifically if he shared Favre’s opinion, Pederson said: “I respect Brett’s opinion. He’s entitled to his opinion and that’s fine, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Some fans and media listening to Pederson’s news conference online immediately expressed their shock on social media that the coach didn’t quickly distance himself from Favre’s comments.

“Carson’s our guy. Carson was our draft pick. Carson is the guy that is going to carry us and lead this football team,” Pederson said. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. Those aren’t my words. Those aren’t Howie’s words, those aren’t Jeffrey’s words. Those are his words. I respect that opinion. Whatever he wants to say, that’s fine and we’re going to remain friends. It doesn’t bother me one way or the other.

“All I know is Carson Wentz is our guy and it’s my job to get Carson Wentz to play better, to do better, to help this football team win. As it is to get everybody else to play better. Again, I respect his opinion and his words. Those aren’t mine. Please don’t put words in my mouth or we’re going to have a problem. Carson’s our guy, bottom line, end of story.”

Wentz finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017 and signed a $128 million contract extension after the 2018 season.

Favre was Wentz’s favorite player growing up in North Dakota. Wentz wasn’t aware of the comments.

“It’s really whatever,” Wentz said. “Everyone has their opinion, so, I don’t know.”

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