Carson Wentz is used to always doing more than he has to. That’s how he’s always been.
If he’s supposed to take six reps, he’ll take nine. If he’s supposed to just lift today, he’ll lift tomorrow, too. If it’s a day of rest? He probably won’t.
It’s one of the reasons he’s been so successful. He's constantly pushing himself to do something extra. It’s also something he knows he has to reel in if he’s going to have a long, healthy career.
It’s not an easy lesson, learning how to balance hyper competitiveness with being sensible.
It’s something Wentz believes the last two injury-plagued seasons have helped him figure out.
As a competitor, you want to take every rep, you want to do this, you want to do that,” he said Tuesday. “But at the same time you just stay the course. I feel very confident where I’m at and I feel like I’ve learned a lot through these (injuries) to not be my worst enemy and listen to advice along the way.
It’s easy to think that if you’re not working hard every minute, you’re falling behind.
And when you’re not heavily recruited out of high school and you play football at an FCS school, it’s understandable that you feel the need to never back off, never take it easy, just to prove you belong.
But as Wentz is learning as he approaches his fourth NFL season, there’s tremendous value in rest. There’s tremendous value in recovery. There’s tremendous value in a day off.
It sounds like it hasn’t been an easy lesson for him. But it’s a crucial one.
It’s just kind of how I was wired and everything, being from North Dakota, smaller school and all those things,” he said. “You want to work, work, work and push, push, push, and there are just times where you just need to tone it down a little bit.
“But it’s been a good process the last few years — unfortunately — going through this, but I feel good with where I am today.
The Eagles had a quarterback not too long ago who was the polar opposite of Wentz.
Nick Foles was so chill. Sometimes it seemed like nothing affected him. He had the same expression whether he was tossing the ball around with a rookie receiver after practice or getting ready for the Super Bowl.
It’s one of the reasons he was able to function at such a high level under the most extreme pressure.
Foles is gone now, but Wentz spent two years with him and believes some of Foles’ personality rubbed off on him.
"He’s so laid back, he’s so relaxed,” Wentz said. “I’m kind of wired a little differently. I’m kind of Type A, go-go-go, and he’s so relaxed and I think it was a good balance for me to see him and his attitude.”
The knee brace is gone. The back has healed. Opening day is 3 ½ months away, and for the first time since October of 2017 Wentz is completely healthy.
No wonder he’s having so much fun at minicamp.
I try to just keep it business as usual, honestly, but finally on the field going against the defense and what that brings? Team drills and everything? There’s always more excitement. So there’s that element. Obviously maybe a little more for me because it’s been a while. But at the same time I try to just keep it business as usual and go complete some passes.
This has been such a long ordeal for Wentz. Rehabbing the knee. Rehabbing the back. While still rehabbing the knee.
He's finally in a good place physically and it's led him to a good place mentally as well.
It's only May, but seeing him and hearing him so upbeat and positive is really encouraging.
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