Wentz Finishes What He Started With a Hug
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Carson Wentz did all the grunt work.
He hauled down the 10-footer from the attic, decorated it all nice and pretty and then got torn away from the project, only to watch someone else put the star on the Christmas tree.
For most of us, it's human nature to be a little bit selfish and stew in the juices of "that should be me." For Wentz, however, it's about helping to finish what he started.
“He’s been outstanding,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Tuesday when asked how the injured Wentz has handled things since Nick Foles took the baton and reached it across the NFC finish line with a historic performance against the well-regarded Minnesota defense.
Wentz, of course, was on his way to an MVP award in his second season, setting the franchise record for touchdown passes that stood for well over 50 years despite tearing his ACL during a win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14.
The numbers Wentz was able to put up were awe-inspiring, so good that the Maxwell Football Club gave him the Bert Bell Award for the top professional football player of the year, but the intangibles were even more important.
When Wentz walked off at the Los Angeles Coliseum he left behind a well-fortified foundation that believed in itself -- no matter what.
Since that day, the Eagles haven't lost -- at least when they were trying to win. There was a Week 17 setback against Dallas but the starters barely played.
With the more limited Foles under center -- looking awful at times and like an All-Pro at others -- Philadelphia has taken care of business against the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and now the Vikings. Only Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots remain at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
An unlikely blowout win over the Vikings gave Reich a little time to express his appreciation for what Wentz had done for just the third Super Bowl team in franchise history and the first since the 2004 season.
“I even said to him in the fourth quarter of that game, once the game was in hand and we knew the game was over, just kind of reminding him of obviously the incredibly important role that he’s played in everything, most particularly the fact that game was played on our turf," Reich said.
Wentz has already progressed from crutches to a cane after ACL surgery and he's not going to be Wally Pipp-ed even if Foles proves capable of finishing this.
Wentz remains the face of this franchise and is on track to be back for Week 1 of the 2018 season. His current role, however, is offering support for his friend, Foles.
“Carson and I have worked together this entire year and he’s a huge reason why we’re in this position,” Foles said. “It’s been awesome just being around him. He’s handled this thing amazingly and he continues to be such a great leader in our locker room."
When the final gun sounded after the rout of the Vikings, Foles and Wentz shared a hug.
"In that moment, you just embrace," Foles explained. "It’s been a crazy year and we work together every single day for long hours. You don’t really need to say anything. A hug goes a long way.”
Human nature sparks some darkness in most of us -- jealousy, envy and perhaps even resentment.
Carson Wentz isn't most people.
"To me, one of the greatest things about a person that you can say is when you see him celebrating somebody else’s success," Reich said. "Even when you know it’s at the same position. I don’t care, human nature tells you that’s hard to do, and it’s been fun to see those two do that. It’s fun to see Carson have the maturity to truly celebrate Nick’s success and understanding how he’s helping this team, and also with the frustration knowing that he wants to be in there.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen