Nate Sudfeld

5 Minutes with Roob: Nate Sudfeld, backup QB passionate about humanitarian work

5 Minutes with Roob: Nate Sudfeld, backup QB passionate about humanitarian work

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld:

Roob: We’re here with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles … oh wait, it’s just a joke — it is Nate Sudfeld. How often do you get that?
 
Sudfeld: I get it often so I wasn’t surprised that you did it right there. I guess there are a lot of similarities, but yes, I get that a lot (more on that here).
 
Roob: You have been here a little more than a month, how has it been going as far as assimilating to the offense and changing from what you learned in Washington to a new system?
 
Sudfeld: I feel like it has gone pretty smooth overall. Obviously, it’s a transition to learn the verbiage but concepts are pretty similar in the NFL from what I have seen so far. It is just the different words for the different plays. Just getting in and out of the huddle and seeing what the process is like here. I feel like I am picking it up pretty well and I am in a good quarterback room with Carson and Nick. That has been very helpful as well.
 
Roob: It was quite a whirlwind. You went through the whole offseason with the Redskins. They drafted you and you were with them in training camp as well as the preseason games and now all of a sudden you are here and looking around like, ‘what am I doing here?’ How jarring was that whole process, and how long did it take to get your feet on the ground?
 
Sudfeld: It was definitely jarring. Thinking you have your future planned and you are going to be there for a while. You know what, opportunities came up and some doors shut and others open. I’m thankful to still be playing the game that I love and I trust that the Lord has a plan for my life and I am not trying to act like I need to know everything. Trying to go one day at a time, and with that mindset, it has been pretty smooth. Not trying to worry about the distant future, just trying to learn how I can get better and try to help the team every day.
 
Roob: Do you know who the last player from Indiana to play here was?
 
Sudfeld: I know Marcus Oliver got picked up this summer for a few weeks. I am not sure.
 
Roob: It was an offensive tackle named Troy Drake. You have been going over to Africa since you were a teenager doing humanitarian and missionary work over there. Was it just Uganda or have you gone to other countries?
 
Sudfeld: I have only gone to Uganda three times with my family, and the organization my grandfather started has done over 300 projects in 60 countries, so it’s not just Uganda.

Roob: Tell me what you get out of that and what it means to you to be able to do that kind of work?
 
Sudfeld: It is interesting that you asked what I get out of it. Early on, I was wondering what would I get out of it and what could I give to it, like how can I help? Actually, going on the trips and going a couple of times I felt, not in a selfish way, that I was getting more out of it than I feel like I am giving. The spirit out there and the people living a simple life, they don’t have much but they have a lot of joy in helping each other. It is humbling to give back and see the tangible influence and help that is going on, so I definitely have a heart for stuff like that. 
 
Roob: What specifically do you work on?
 
Sudfeld: Last May, we did a sports camp at a school that the organization Assist International helped partner to build. AOET Village, which started as a school with some homes in there that housed orphans, and the village gives them scholarships to go to school. A lot of freshwater solutions, building wells and things like that. Women’s empowerment is a big thing, education and a lot of things like that. It isn’t just delegating on dealing with one particular item, but it is helping out in a broad sense. Helping build from the ground up.
 
Roob: You made your first trip over at 14 or 15?
 
Sudfeld: I was 14. I am very lucky. My grandparents said when we turned 13 we could go on a trip with them that year. My older brother went to Romania, my other brother went to Cuba and Guatemala and my cousin went to China. I don’t remember where my sister went and I chose Uganda.
 
Roob: Your sister Juliana plays volleyball for Wheaton College?
 
Sudfeld: She did and she just transferred to Azusa, and my other sister Sara is also at Azusa in Southern California, so they go to school down there.
 
Roob: There are a lot of people in this locker room who haven’t been outside of their hometown and maybe Philly. Do you kind of feel like you have a perspective on life from these trips, and has it provided you a deeper sense of things?
 
Sudfeld: Absolutely, and not in a way that I look down upon people and say, ‘you have no idea how bad you have got it.’ That is not the attitude you want to have. You have no idea how good you are living is not what it is supposed to be. My whole circumstance of coming here and thinking I have my whole future planned, and it is disappointing and there is so much uncertainty in the air. Given the perspective that there are real problems in the world and I am still playing the game I love, I want to keep playing for as long as I can and get an opportunity some day. In the grand scheme of things, it was easier to say life is still good and life is going well. It is really important to me.
 
Roob: Is it something you want to keep doing after football?
 
Sudfeld: Absolutely, I want to go volunteer as much as possible while I play football. We’ll see. Hopefully, I am in the NFL for a long time so that I can afford to do a job that I don’t need to make much money. It has been cool. Last year Kirk Cousins donated a lot because we bet on an Indiana and Michigan State game. So I won a sizable check that is going to build a home in one of those villages.

Uncanny resemblance: Eagles fans keep mistaking Sudfeld for Foles

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Uncanny resemblance: Eagles fans keep mistaking Sudfeld for Foles

As Nate Sudfeld walked out of the tunnel at StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Sunday afternoon for warmups, the Eagles fans that had congregated near the entrance began to go wild. 

"Nick! Nick! Hey, Nick Foles!"

Sudfeld, with an Eagles cap tucked down tightly on his head, didn't stop walking. The Eagles' practice squad quarterback stared straight ahead, wearing a little smirk on his face and slightly shaking his head. 

"I'm not Nick," he mouthed. 

Honest mistake. It happens all the time. 

Foles is still beloved by many Eagles fans for his magical 27 touchdown, two interception season as well as his seven-touchdown game in 2013. Sudfeld has found that out over the last month because the resemblance between the two is — at times — uncanny. 

They're both tall, lanky white dudes with dirty blonde hair, who have matching mannerisms and personalities. There's not a mirror between their two lockers at the NovaCare Complex but plenty of people think there might as well be. Since Sudfeld arrived in Philly just before the start of the season many of his new teammates have taken to calling him "Nick's little brother" or "Nick 2.0." 

"They look the same, their build is the same, their personality is the same," said Carson Wentz, who shares a quarterback room with the two. "They're very similar. I don't get them mixed up but I do call them little bro and big bro. We noticed it right away."

Wentz might not get Foles and Sudfeld mixed up, but fans are a different story. Sunday in California was not the first time Sudfeld was mistaken for Foles and it will likely not be the last.  

Before the game against the Chiefs in Kansas City a few weeks ago, the same thing happened. Sudfeld was walking onto the field when a group of overzealous fans began to shout Nick's name. 

"It's not me," Sudfeld responded. "They were like 'seven touchdowns! Seven touchdowns!"

That's when Sudfeld began a game of internal tug-of-war. On one hand, he knew darn well he wasn't Nick Foles. But on the other, he didn't want the group of fans to leave Arrowhead Stadium that day thinking, "Nick was a bad guy." 

So Sudfeld did the only thing he could think of. He sauntered over to the group of fans and began signing their memorabilia. ... As Nick Foles. 

"I thought that was pretty funny," said Foles, who found out from Sudfeld later. "I thought that was pretty good."

Inside the locker room, confusion doesn't exist among their teammates. They can all tell them apart; it's not like they're identical twins or anything. Aside from one time where a reporter thought Foles had taken over Sudfeld's locker, there haven't been any cases of mistaken identity. 

There has, however, been plenty of ribbing from teammates. 

When asked which teammate enjoys bringing up their similar looks the most, neither Sudfeld nor Foles took very long to decide. It's the Eagles' longest-tenured player. Brent Celek has seen hundreds of players come and go, but probably never two who looked this similar, including Chase Daniel and Jon Dorenbos.

"Yeah, mostly Celek," Sudfeld said. "He gives me a lot of flack about it."

"Celek," Foles said without hesitation. "Go interview Celek. Celek would be a great interview." 

OK, then. Off to talk to Celek, who took a moment from scrolling through his iPhone while sitting by his locker, to listen to the question before rubbing his eyes and laughing. 

Guilty as charged. 

"All three of us joke around a lot together," Celek said. "They're funny dudes, man. I really like both of them a lot. They both have similar personalities, they look similar. It's just funny."

Celek had heard stories about fans mistaking Sudfeld for Foles but it wasn't until Thursday when he learned Sudfeld once impersonated Foles before a game and even signed a few autographs in character. 

"That's funny," Celek said. "They do look really similar. It's really eerie how similar they look, their mannerisms. And they're like best friends."

That's true too. While Foles is 28 and Sudfeld won't turn 24 until Saturday, the two have become very close over the last month. In fact all three of the Eagles' quarterbacks seem to have a tight relationship. 

Sudfeld first met Foles on the University of Arizona campus in 2011. At the time, Foles was getting ready to enter his senior season as the Wildcats' starting quarterback when a high school junior came into the weight room for a brief chat. While Sudfeld ultimately ended up playing college ball at Indiana after some coaching changes at Arizona, he was once committed to become a Wildcat and met Foles on campus. 

Sudfeld remembers that day well. Foles remembers it "vaguely." 

"He was a young recruit," Foles said. "I remember a tall lanky kid and obviously it's Nate. He went on to have a great career at Indiana, which is awesome."

Foles called Sudfeld a great quarterback and an even greater person. All resemblance aside, Foles considers Sudfeld to be like a brother. 

But there's just no setting this resemblance aside. It's hard to ignore. 

Sudfeld understands that he and Foles are the same height (6-6) with similar builds and hair color, but doesn't see the likeness in their faces. Still, he understands how fans can get confused. 

Big bro agrees. 

"It definitely looks like we could be related, like brothers or something," Foles said. "Can't deny that."

QB Nate Sudfeld makes 'very tough call' to join Eagles, leave Redskins

QB Nate Sudfeld makes 'very tough call' to join Eagles, leave Redskins

After the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz last year, they messaged some of the other quarterbacks in the 2016 draft and wished them luck.

One of those guys was Nate Sudfeld.

“I had a formal interview (with the Eagles) at the combine and I got to know Coach (Frank) Reich and (quarterbacks coach John) DeFilippo ... Coach Flip ... I still can’t pronounce his name very well," Sudfeld said.

"Got to know them pretty well in the draft process. Obviously they drafted Carson, but they still texted me and said, 'Hey good luck, you’re going to have a great career.' They always kind of seemed to be interested and have my back."

They're still interested. 

The Eagles snatched Sudfeld from the Redskins on Sunday, signing him to their practice squad a day after the Redskins released him and then tried to re-sign him to their practice squad.

Sudfeld spent all of last year on the Redskins' active roster and expected to be back in Washington this year. But when the Redskins cut him, Sudfeld had to re-think everything.

"It was a very tough call," he said. "Honestly, it was really sad leaving someplace where you make so many friendships and relationships. I love the coaches, I love everyone there. I just talked to my agent, talked to my family (and) just felt like this was the best decision for myself and really excited for the opportunity.

"It's tough because I have nothing but love for everyone over there. It’s just sad always to move on. It’s still pretty fresh. The equipment guys, the chefs, the lady at the front desk, everything like that. It’s really tough. 

"Being there all last year on the roster. I really love my time there and really appreciative of my time there."

So why is he here?

Sudfeld clearly believes he has a better opportunity to develop behind Wentz and Nick Foles and under this coaching staff than behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy in Washington.

"I just felt like some new scenery and a different thing was the right thing at the right time," he said.

"It's a great spot for me to develop and continue to get reps and improve as a player. I'm trying to have a long career in the NFL. Everybody wants to play — as a quarterback especially — till their late 30s. 

"I'm trying not to get too overwhelmed with the 'now,' because I'm a 23-year-old guy. I was one of the youngest guys on the Redskins team, and I just have to do what’s right for me at the time and not be selfish or look into the future. Just what’s going to make me the best quarterback in the long run."

Sudfeld, a sixth-round pick out of Indiana last year, played well both last year and this year in the preseason. 

He combined to complete 61 of 109 passes (56 percent) for 598 yards with three TDs and no interceptions in six preseason games over the last two summers. 

And he did not expect to be released.

"Honestly, I was a little surprised," he said. "But I don’t want to say I didn’t go (back) there because it was ill will or anything. But I was a little surprised. But it is what it is. It’s a business. More and more teams are going with two quarterbacks.

"When they released me they said this was no indictment of you, we don't think any less of you, we just have some needs on defense, whatever that means. 

"I don't know. Who knows. It's a crazy league. Who knows how everything shakes out in a year or 10 years if I'm playing that long. I don't feel like any bridges are burned or anything. I still have a lot of love for everyone over there."

Obviously, the Eagles face Sudfeld's former team in five days in the season opener at FedEx Field.

Could the Eagles have acquired Sudfeld to pick his brain about the Redskins' offense?

"I think that's overrated," he said. "I haven’t really talked to anybody about the Redskins."

Then he paused and said, "Yet."