Nick Foles plans to become a pastor after football

AP Images

Nick Foles plans to become a pastor after football

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Nick Foles has a calling far greater than throwing touchdown passes.

If Foles leads the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, he'll become a folk hero in a city that has desperately waited for a championship since 1960.

But that won't define Foles in the big picture. He has more important plans for his future.

"I want to be a pastor in a high school," Foles said Thursday. "It's on my heart. I took a leap of faith last year and signed up to take classes at seminary. I wanted to continue to learn and challenge my faith. It's a challenge because you are writing papers that are biblically correct. You want to impact people's hearts."

Foles is part of a team that has a strong Christian brotherhood. MVP contender Carson Wentz has been outspoken about his faith and many players spend a lot of time together in prayer, studying the Bible and sharing devotionals.

Foles was one of the study leaders during his first stint in Philadelphia and has become a go-to source for younger guys. Left guard Stefen Wisniewksi also plans to become a pastor after his career ends.

"Guys like Nick and Wis can spit out scripture all day and it's awesome to take in that knowledge," said special teams ace Kamu Grugier-Hill.

Foles is passionate about helping students find their way and plans to use his experiences to inspire and encourage them.

"When I speak to (students), that's such a time of young men and young women's lives that there's a lot of things that are thrown at them. So much temptation in this world, so much going on with social media and the internet that you want to talk to them and address it and share all the weaknesses I have because I've fallen many times," Foles said. "It's something I want to do. I can't play football forever. I've been blessed with an amazing platform and it's just a door God has opened, but I still have a lot of school left and a long journey."

Foles, who was offensive MVP of the Pro Bowl following the 2013 season, contemplated retirement after he asked the Rams to release him last year. He ended up going to Kansas City and reuniting with Andy Reid, who drafted him in the third round in Philadelphia in 2012.

He says prayer helped him decide to stay in the NFL, and he returned to the Eagles to be Wentz's backup. When Wentz tore his left ACL in Week 14, Wentz stepped in and led Philadelphia. He was spectacular against Minnesota in the NFC championship, tossing four touchdown passes in a 38-7 win.

Foles — not Tom Brady — has the highest passer rating in postseason history for quarterbacks who've thrown at least 75 passes. Foles has completed 72 of 96 passes for 793 yards, with five touchdowns and no interceptions in three games for a 116.4 passer rating.

"It took a lot more faith to come back and play than it would've to go in the other direction," Foles said. "Either way would've been fine. Either way, I would've trusted in God. I would've done something else and glorified God in that instance.

"The reason I decided to come back is I've loved the game of football since I was a kid, I loved playing sports, I loved being part of a team, and I knew as a person that the more growth I've had and the more opportunity I would have to glorify God and trust in him would be to go back and play football."

Eagle Eye podcast: Just how bad is this loss?

USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: Just how bad is this loss?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro break down the Eagles’ 27-24 loss to the Lions at home. 

The mistakes were just horrible: Drops, fumbles, penalties. The Eagles couldn’t score on late drives and now they’re 1-2 with a tough game in Green Bay looming. 

The guys go over their biggest concerns with the Eagles with Thursday Night Football coming in a few days. 

• Mistakes just killed them 
• Why are the Eagles 1-2? 
• What happened on those late drives? 
• The guys pick their biggest concerns
• The Packers will be a tough test 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

No excuses from Eagles' Miles Sanders after fumbles: 'I have to play better'

No excuses from Eagles' Miles Sanders after fumbles: 'I have to play better'

Someone tried to ask Miles Sanders after the game if he had trouble hanging onto the football because it was so hot and he was sweating and the football was slippery.

He just shook his head and was like … come on, man.

No excuses.

He knows he has to be better. He knows he has to solve his ongoing fumbling problem.

Sanders, the Eagles’ rookie second-round pick from Penn State, finally did some good things on offense in the Eagles’ loss to the Lions Sunday, but they were more than offset by two fumbles, one of which he lost that led to a Detroit field goal (see observations).

Whether you’re a 10-year vet or a rookie, you’re in the NFL for a reason,” Sanders said. “I have a job to do. … All I can say is got to put it behind me and keep moving forward and continue to grow and get ready for next week.

Sanders fumbled midway through the second quarter, but guard Isaac Seumalo recovered and the drive continued.

Just four plays later, it happened again. This time Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson fell on the football near midfield, and five plays later the Lions took a 17-10 lead with a field goal.

Sanders is the first Eagles running back to fumble twice in the same game since Bryce Brown against the Cowboys in 2012.

It’s a long season, a long game,” Sanders said. “I got back in and tried to make the most of my opportunities. Put it behind me. I’m not perfect, but I’m definitely going to work my ass off this week to get better.

Brown, also a rookie, rushed for 169 yards in that 2012 game against the Cowboys. Sanders didn’t pile up quite that many yards, but after another slow start he did put up 126 yards from scrimmage — the most by an Eagles rookie running back since that same game.

Sanders was on the receiving end of Carson Wentz’s two longest passes — a 40-yarder in the first quarter and a 33-yarder in the fourth — and ran 13 times for 53 yards, a respectable 4.1 after he averaged just 2.5 yards in his first two games.

His 73 receiving yards are the most by an Eagles rookie running back in a regular season game since Robert Drummond had 74 against the Chargers in 1989, although Corey Clement had 100 in the Super Bowl.

There’s always positives in every game,” he said. “But got to come out with a win. I’ve got to play better. I put us in some tough situations.

Sanders fumbled 10 times in 308 touches at Penn State, which is once every 31 touches.

And that’s way too many.

He now has two fumbles in 40 touches as an Eagle.

Wayyyyy too many.

Continue to keep working,” he said. “I’m not perfect. Try to be perfect. On to the next game.

The first couple games, Sanders held onto the ball but didn’t produce.

This time there were some positives signs … but he fumbled twice.

The challenge for the Eagles and for Sanders is getting the production without the fumbles.

Because as talented as Sanders is, if he can’t hang onto the football, he's not going to play.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles