Carson Wentz's five-year tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles was full of highs and lows. However, it ended in an ugly fashion, as he was benched for then-rookie Jalen Hurts in 2020 amidst a 4-11-1 season. A few months later, he was traded to Indianapolis.
Not even one year later, Wentz is back in the NFC East. The Commanders traded for Wentz earlier this month, hoping the 29-year-old can be the solution to Washington's everlasting search for a franchise quarterback.
Speaking with local media in Florida during the NFL's annual meetings, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was asked about Wentz -- now that he's back in the division. Lurie had plenty of positive things to say about his former QB and really emphasized the point that he wished Wentz's time with the Eagles ended differently.
"It didn’t end how we envisioned it to end," Lurie said. "But I’m always thankful."
When speaking about Wentz, Lurie kept referring back to the quarterback's 2017 season where he played at a near-MVP level before tearing his ACL in December that year. Wentz's fantastic play helped lead the Eagles to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Philadelphia would eventually go on to win its first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
“Let me just say, Carson in 2017 – we’ll never forget it. Probably played at an MVP level," Lurie said. "There’s no way we would have been the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs if it weren’t for Carson. I doubt we would have been able to win the Super Bowl if we didn’t have the No. 1 seed. ... We were able to ride the quarterback play of Carson that year and put us in position to win the Super Bowl."
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Wentz would play three more seasons with the Eagles after that run but never returned to the form he was in pre-injury. He did show flashes -- Wentz led the Eagles to five straight wins to end 2019 with another NFC East title -- but ultimately was not as consistent as Philadelphia's brass hoped.
After the 2020 campaign -- by far the worst of Wentz's career -- Lurie let go of head coach Doug Pederson after five seasons. Wentz was traded to Indianapolis just a few weeks later.
"That [2017 season] was the best of Carson. When we drafted Carson, that’s what we hoped for," Lurie said. "It was an MVP-level quarterback. Not every quarterback – and not every player – is able to sustain that level of play. You have injuries, you’ve got lots of factors."
Now back in the NFC East with Washington, Wentz -- barring injury -- will return to Lincoln Financial Field this season for the first time since Philadelphia traded him. Although the reception from fans will probably be lukewarm at best -- that's being generous, too -- Lurie plans to welcome Wentz back with open arms.
“I welcome Carson when he comes back," Lurie said. "I’d rather take the road of 'he really helped us in a very important way in the 2017 season.' I wish he had been able to maintain that level of growth throughout. It didn’t pan out that way.”
Lurie isn't the only one of Wentz' former bosses that have come out and praised him this week. Both Pederson and Frank Reich, Wentz's offensive coordinator in Philadelphia and head coach last season in Indianapolis, spoke highly about Washington's new signal-caller.
For Wentz, it's a good sign that several of his former coaches (and owner) have openly talked highly about him. But for the 29-year-old QB, none of this matters if he doesn't play well in Washington next season and moving forward.