Eagles

Nick Foles' inspirational message in a social media world

Nick Foles' inspirational message in a social media world

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — It speaks volumes about Nick Foles that 11 hours after putting on one of the greatest performances in Philadelphia sports history, Nick Foles stood at a podium, accepted the Super Bowl MVP trophy and spoke about his shortcomings.

This is Nick Foles.

This is why he's special.

Foles continued his torrid postseason Sunday, throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns and catching a touchdown pass in the Eagles' 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.

It was a remarkable performance for Foles and continued his wild ride from Eagles Pro Bowler to Rams castoff to Chiefs backup to Eagles backup to Super Bowl champion.

Monday morning, Foles was back at the Mall of America, the Super Bowl headquarters all last week, to accept the MVP trophy.

I asked him what he wants people to take from his journey, from the way he's handled himself, from his ability to shake off some incredible disappointments and even contemplate retirement, from being unwanted by three teams to standing there with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell posing for pictures with the Super Bowl MVP trophy.

Foles' response was incredibly revealing and quite powerful.

"I think the big thing is don't be afraid to fail," Foles said. "I think in our society today, Instagram, Twitter, it's a highlight reel. It's all the good things. And then when you look at it, when you think like, wow, when you have a rough day, 'My life's not as good as that,' (you think) you're failing.

"Failure is a part of life. It's a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn't be up here if I hadn't fallen thousands of times. Made mistakes.

"We all are human, we all have weaknesses, and I think throughout this, (it's been important) to be able to share that and be transparent. I know when I listen to people speak and they share their weaknesses, I'm listening. Because (it) resonates.

"So I'm not perfect. I'm not Superman. I might be in the NFL, I might have just won a Super Bowl, but, hey, we still have daily struggles, I still have daily struggles. And that's where my faith comes in, that's where my family comes in.

"I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that's just an opportunity for your character to grow. And that's just been the message. Simple. If something's going on in your life and you're struggling? Embrace it. Because you're growing."

Foles' postseason was one of the greatest in NFL history. He completed 72.6 percent of his passes (second-highest ever), averaged 324 passing yards per game and threw more touchdowns (6) than he threw in the regular season (1).

His 113.2 career passer rating is highest in NFL postseason history.

The Eagles haven't lost a game that Foles started and finished since 2014.

And he did what Jaws couldn't do, what Randall couldn't do, what Donovan couldn't do.

He delivered a championship to Philadelphia.

Doug Pederson, a backup himself for most of his Eagles career, doubted every step of the way as a coach, can certainly relate to Foles' journey.

"Nick has been the same guy that I can remember who we drafted," he said Monday morning while accepting the Lombardi Trophy from Goodell.

"He doesn't change. He doesn't change at all. The things he did back then when we had him in Philadelphia to today? He's just a better quarterback today, he's a smarter quarterback today, he's a veteran quarterback today.

"But Nick is Nick. He's who he is. You just saw here how genuine he is. I have a lot of guys on that roster that are just like Nick. Very unselfish. Call them role players if you want, call them whatever you want. Call them backups.

"These guys helped us win this championship. My hat's off to Nick for what he's gone through, what he's had to deal (with), what he's had to block out these last two months."

Greg Ward still learning wide receiver position after great college career at quarterback

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Greg Ward still learning wide receiver position after great college career at quarterback

Greg Ward threw more touchdown passes in college than Carson Wentz and had a higher career passer rating than Nick Foles. 

These days, his job is catching passes, not throwing them. 

It’s quite a transition from big-time NCAA Division 1 quarterback to NFL wide receiver, but at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, the former Houston Cougar knows where his future is.

Ward spent all of last year on the Eagles’ practice squad, learning the nuances of a new position and figuring out how to think like a receiver instead of a quarterback. 

He looked surprisingly polished at wide out in training camp, caught nine passes for 63 yards in the preseason and then spent the season focusing on getting better.

“I still haven’t 100 percent gotten the position,” Ward said after a recent rookie camp practice. “I always feel like I can get better, always feel like I can learn something new, feel like there’ll always be something to improve on. 

“Last year was a big year for me. Just learning a new position, learning football period, learning from Alshon (Jeffery), Torrey (Smith) and Nelson (Agholor), it was a very important year for me.

“Just gathering every bit of information I could watching those guys practice and watching them in games and then learning how to apply what you’ve learned to your game.”

Ward never did get a chance to play, but he said he felt himself getting better as the year went along.

“Everybody wants to play,” said Ward, who led Houston to a Peach Bowl win over No. 9 Florida State in Atlanta at the end of his junior year. 

“You’re a competitor, that’s why we all do this. But I was humbled and thankful just to be on a Super Bowl team. Just to be in the NFL period. Some guys aren’t able to play football at all. I’m just grateful to be on a football team. 

“But this is not the end of my story. I am going to get out there and I am going to play.”

Ward was with the Eagles during their postseason run and he was there in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.

He used every moment, every day, as an opportunity to improve. Even if nobody could see it happening.

“The biggest thing I learned was just being patient, just being humble,” he said. “Our team last year, there was nobody that was selfish. Nobody who thought they were bigger than anybody else. I learned patience and the importance of doing extra. Getting extra work, studying more, watching more film. That’s what it takes to win a championship.”

The Eagles have quite a crowd at wide receiver, with Jeffery, Agholor and Mack Hollins back, Wallace and Markus Wheaton in the fold and guys like Bryce Treggs, Shelton Gibson and Rashard Davis all also in the mix.

But Ward doesn’t concern himself with the numbers.

“The next step for me is to separate myself,” he said. "As a competitor, especially coming from being undrafted, you have to separate yourself. You have to be different. 

“You have to catch whoever’s eye it is, head coach, position coach, catch everybody’s eyes. They have to see value in you. That’s where I am right now. Trying to separate myself.”

How long will it take?

“I’m leaving that up to God,” he said. “I know I’m putting in the hard work and I know one day it will pay off. I know that day will come.”

Jay Ajayi's publicist denies Eagles' RB trashed an L.A. mansion

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Jay Ajayi's publicist denies Eagles' RB trashed an L.A. mansion

Eagles running back Jay Ajayi is strongly denying accusations made in a lawsuit that he trashed a Los Angeles house after the Super Bowl (see story)

The lawsuit, as reported by TMZ earlier this week, accuses Ajayi of throwing three parties at the L.A. mansion he was renting even after the owner told him not to. Ajayi is being charged $25,000 by the owner. 

Shortly after the story broke on Monday, a representative for Ajayi claimed the lawsuit was bogus. 

Now, we have an even stronger detail from Ajayi’s camp. 

Ajayi’s publicist Melanie Wadden told the Miami Herald that Ajayi didn’t throw any parties and caused no damage to the property. 

Additionally, Wadden denied the home owner’s claim that Ajayi pushed him in a menacing manner after confronting him.

“Jay was not involved in any physical altercations,” she said. 

Ajayi’s publicist also told the Herald that Ajayi was a guest and not the renter and the owner wanted the group to pay cash instead of through Airbnb. 

"The entire group voluntarily left the property several days early — no security or police were ever involved or on-site," Wadden said. "They filed a complaint against the owner through Airbnb back in February that included screenshots of the owner asking for cash and trying to communicate outside of their platform [against Airbnb policy]."

Ajayi, who came to the Eagles in the middle of last season in a trade, has one year left on his current contract.