I’ll never forget the first time I talked to Nick Foles.
It was in the summer of 2012 at Lehigh University for training camp and I was writing a story in anticipation of Clay Harbor’s sure-fire breakout season. (I know, I know.) Back then, I was a part-time employee clawing at any chance to cover the Eagles and Foles was still a relatively unknown, long-haired, third-round pick.
I noticed that summer how much Foles had been working with Harbor so I waited for him outside of the field house long after a practice was over and most of the other players had already retreated into the comfort of the air conditioning. Foles was kind that day. We chatted for a bit and then he went inside. (And for what it’s worth, he thought Harbor was about to break out too.)
I’ll admit, as far as anecdotes go, that one is pretty boring. But that was the first moment I thought of on the morning of Feb. 5, 2018. A few hours earlier I watched that same long-haired kid, then all grown up, lead the Eagles to a thrilling 41-33 win in Super Bowl LII. Now, I was watching him regale the room with his story of failure and triumph as he accepted his Super Bowl MVP trophy.
My point is, we’ll always have our memories. Because Foles is finally moving on.
The Eagles’ legend has agreed to terms on a new contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a league source confirms. It will pay him $88 million over four years. That will definitely bring back a third-round compensatory pick to Philadelphia.
And Foles will once again become a starter. Good for him.
It’s what we all expected. It’s what we all knew was going to happen. But it won’t make it any less weird to see Foles suit up in a Jaguars jersey next season, not after he became an absolute folk hero in Philadelphia.
This outcome was pretty much cemented when the Eagles decided to forego a scheme to tag-and-trade Foles, letting him walk as a free agent. It became clearer and clearer just a few weeks ago when most of his possible landing spots disappeared. In Jacksonville, he’ll be reunited with former Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo. Sure, there was plenty of tampering here, but the Eagles were moving on, so they didn’t much care. They’ll likely be happy to get Foles out of the division too.
Late in the 2018 season, Foles began to become emotional as he realized his time in Philadelphia was coming to an end. With Carson Wentz cemented as the franchise quarterback and with Foles’ desire to become a starter again, this is the only way this was ever going to end.
This is what Foles said minutes after his last game in an Eagles uniform, the loss to the Saints in the divisional round:
The big thing is what the city means to me. It’s always welcomed me and my family. It’s really been a joy to live there and wear the green and wear the jersey. No matter what, you can’t ever take that away. We were able to do some really special things. We’ll see what happens, but I’ll tell you this, I’ve enjoyed every single moment and (Philadelphia) will always have a special place in my heart. The city, the fans, the people, everything about it. There’s nothing like playing in the Linc in front of the crowd. It’s some of my favorite moments. My family got to experience them, my daughter got to experience them. We’ll see what happens, but I’ve enjoyed everything.
Since the Jaguars are in the AFC and won’t play the Eagles, fans in Philadelphia can feel free to root for Foles.
Really, how could they not?
Foles, 30, will be remembered for his Super Bowl MVP performance to cap the magical 2017 season. He’ll also be remembered for one of the most peculiar careers we’ve ever seen. He was drafted by Andy Reid, traded by Chip Kelly, nearly retired, came back to Reid, joined Doug Pederson in Philly, became a Super Bowl champion, went back to the bench, and now he’s moving on.
The legacy he leaves behind is a complicated one, but he’ll forever be remembered in Philadelphia as the guy who brought the first Lombardi Trophy to town. And, for me, the best guy to chat with about Clay Harbor.
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