Just after I asked Nate Sudfeld what Carson Wentz’s mood had been like this week after finding out he wasn’t going to fulfill his goal of playing in Week 1, the third-string quarterback pinged back a mischievous smile.
“He’s been super crabby,” Sudfeld said just loud enough so Wentz, who had crept up behind us, could hear.
Wentz, who stopped by his locker before a shower, flashed a little smile. He then agreed it was a little awkward for Sudfeld to be answering questions about him while he was right there.
“Don’t worry,” said Wentz, who wasn’t made available by the team for interviews this week. “I’m leaving in a minute.”
As soon as he was gone, Sudfeld gave his real answer.
“He’s been awesome,” Sudfeld said. “He’s obviously a competitor and he worked really hard to get back, but he also understands the big picture and it’s always smart to be cautious. But he’s not changing his approach. He’s still treating this week as if he’s starting. He’s still the leader of the team, he’s doing a great job of it.”
Of course Wentz is disappointed.
He’s human, after all.
From the time he tore his ACL and LCL last Dec. 10, his goal was always to be ready to play in the first game of the next season. He worked out and rehabbed his left knee for the last nearly nine months with the hope that he’d be able to suit up when the Eagles host the Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Instead, he’ll be watching, and that can’t be easy.
Wentz sent out that tweet on Monday after the announcement was made by Doug Pederson that Nick Foles would start Thursday. Like he has done throughout his rehab, Wentz is going to rely on his faith to get over another tribulation.
Just don’t expect Wentz to mope. That’s not his style. Even though he has surrendered his starting job to Foles for the time being, he’s still the franchise quarterback. And he’s still putting in work during the week.
Foles, like everyone else, has been impressed with how hard Wentz has worked in rehab and has “seen it up close and personal.” Wentz’s worth ethic has always impressed Foles.
“I have all the respect in the world for him,” Foles said. “He just stays the same and keeps working.”
Pederson admitted that, of course, Wentz is disappointed from the standpoint that any athlete is disappointed when they miss a game. Pederson on Tuesday seemed proud about the communication he’s had with both quarterbacks over the last few months and admitted the source of his frustration earlier this week was because that communication was superseded by a premature report.
While the head coach wouldn’t update Wentz’s status beyond saying he’s still “close,” he did say there have been no setbacks in his recovery.
“Carson is in a great spot,” Pederson said. “He's in a great spot right now. He's supportive. He understands. He knows exactly where he's at. He works every single day to get back on the field. That's all I can ask for.”