Doug Pederson shot down the notion that his relationship with Carson Wentz deteriorated as last year went on.
“I do believe that there’s a little misnomer out there that Carson and I were on such bad terms, and I’ve never felt that way,” Pederson said.
In his first interview since he was fired in January, Pederson appeared on Takeoff with John Clark, a new podcast from NBC Sports Philadelphia, to talk about his son Josh’s preparation for the NFL draft. Josh Pederson is a tight end from Louisiana-Monroe.
Click here to listen to the entire interview and subscribe to Takeoff with John Clark.
But Pederson also spoke for the first time about his relationship with Wentz, who he benched for Jalen Hurts 11 1/2 games into last season. He said he understands why Wentz was frustrated when he got benched but said they communicated throughout the season.
“I understand where Carson’s coming from because it’s difficult," Pederson said. "When you’re the starter and things like this happen and you basically get benched. Our season wasn’t going the way we wanted it to go and it’s difficult. It’s difficult for any player to go through that. … You’ve got to have the conversations, you’ve got to have the open-door policy, and you’ve got to communicate, and felt like we did that.
“I’ve always felt like I was going to do the right thing for the Philadelphia Eagles, but yet I understand what he was feeling and what he was going through. I know there was frustration there."
The Eagles fired Pederson and then traded Wentz to the Colts, where he reunited with Frank Reich, Pederson's offensive coordinator when the Eagles won the Super Bowl three years ago.
"I still have a lot of respect (for Wentz) and we drafted him five years ago to be the guy and I’m excited to see what he does with the Colts now," Pederson said. "And he has a fresh start too. I think that’s something that players go through in their careers. … I know that’s what he’s looking forward to and I’m excited to watch his career moving forward.”
Pederson said he’s also excited to watch Hurts as he presumably takes over the reigns with the Eagles.
Hurts had a combined 1,085 yards passing and rushing in the three full games he’s played, the second-most ever by a QB in his first three NFL starts (behind Cam Newton).
Pederson said he believes Hurts can be “the guy” for the Eagles.
“A lot like Carson, he’s got such a great leadership style,” Pederson said. “Guys really gravitate to him. His work ethic is second to none. I think the coaching staff can, if they’re patient with him, can really teach and dial things in for him and really tailor the offense around his skill set.
“He’s going to have success. He’s a proven winner. He’s been a proven winner obviously in college at a couple of places he’s been. I know he can do that in the National Football League. He’s young but yet he’s eager. He’s going to outwork everybody on the football team. That’s just who he is.”