Carson Wentz addressed reporters on Thursday for the first time since his postgame press conference after getting benched for Jalen Hurts during the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Yes, he’s the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback now, and this is an Eagles blog. But Wentz was naturally asked about how things ended in Philly. Here’s a transcript of those relevant exchanges with some commentary to follow.
Q: Hey Carson, Howie Roseman said that you had asked for a fresh start. Why do you think you needed a fresh start?
WENTZ: Yeah, I mean, after the season … obviously, a lot of conversations with my agent, and back and forth, and those types of things. It wasn’t the ending that everyone envisioned. Not how I envisioned all of those things. But I’m not going to delve too much into those conversations. But obviously this is where we’re at. We’re excited for this fresh start and to be in such a great place as this. So, yeah, that’s really all I’ve got to say on that one.
Q: Do you think the Eagles drafting Jalen Hurts had any effect on you?
WENTZ: I don’t. I don’t. Jalen and I had a good relationship, and I wish the kid nothing but the best. I think he’s got a lot of ability. I was impressed by how quickly he kind of grasped the offense and really understood things and how well he did. Obviously, I would’ve loved to have been the guy playing the year out — there’s no mistaking that. But that’s not how it unfolded. And I’ve got a lot of respect for him. It’s just how it unfolded. There’s a lot of things that had to fall into place for these things to go down and for me to be here, but I said it earlier and I’m going to beat it to death: God has a plan. He has a perfect plan and I don’t … I can argue with it sometimes but it ain’t going to get me anywhere. So, I’m here, and I’m excited for this one.
Q: How tough was that to handle not being the guy anymore in Philly?
WENTZ: Absolutely. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It wasn’t fun. It’s not fun when things were going so well for years and all those things. And obviously, the Super Bowl and all those things that happened. And not being out there on the field, having injuries. A lot of things that just … don’t know why things happened or why they went the way they did. As a man, you have to look yourself in the mirror and learn from it. Learn from it and become a better man, better player, all of those things. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t fun. It was difficult. But I did everything I could to still be supportive of Jalen, of my teammates, and I have a lot of really strong relationships with a lot of people in that building. Teammates, staff, everything, that I wanted to be the best I could be to help them. So, I was going out there every day for scout team even though it was weird, it was new, it was different. But I was going to give the best look I could and compete and help the team. It wasn’t the ending I desired but this is the path that we’re on and we’re excited for this new opportunity.
Q: You know the narrative in Philly is ‘Well, he doesn’t want to compete with Jalen Hurts. The team is trying to rebuild and he wants out.’ What is the situation there? Why did you want out so badly?
WENTZ: Yeah, I mean, for starters, there were a lot of conversations that happened at the end of the year that — with my agent, with everybody, that I’m not going to delve into, dive into the specifics on that. As far as being a competitor, I’ve never once questioned my competitiveness. But at the end of the day, this was outside of my control. And I am appreciative of everything that happened in Philly, all of the opportunities. I know where I’m at today … for five years, I gave everything I had. Both on and off the field. And Like I said earlier, when I lay my head on that pillow at night, I know I gave everything I had. It didn’t go how we all desired and wanted it to go but I can sleep well at night knowing I poured my heart and soul and everything I had into that city, on and off the field. And we’re excited for a new start and a new opportunity.
Q: Are you saying you didn’t want to be traded?
WENTZ: I’m not saying one way or another. There was a lot of conversations. A lot of things that kind of shook out. As it played out, this is what went down, and I’m excited about it. I’ll tell you that much.
Q: Where there a moment where you felt that … was it in Green Bay, a moment where you felt like maybe it was time for a fresh start? Was there a moment?
WENTZ: Uh, Green Bay was probably the moment that I realized this might not be it. Anytime you’re pulled, you don’t know what’s … Am I going to go back out next week? Next drive? Like, I had no idea. And so all those things go through your mind. Try and not overthink it. Try and be in the moment, do what I can. Obviously frustrated to not be playing, but trying to do everything for my teammates and do everything I can to help the team win. But, yeah, those thoughts definitely creep in when you’re benched, and that’s just how it unfolded.
- The thing that stood out most to me was Wentz saying the trade was “outside of my control.” I mean, everyone knows that’s just not true. He absolutely wanted out. His camp made that known starting on the morning of the Eagles’ Week 15 game against the Arizona Cardinals. Are the Eagles really taking on the biggest dead cap hit in NFL history by far if Wentz wanted to stay?
- Wentz confirmed the benching caused him to doubt his long-term future in Philly. That makes me want to revisit what I previously wrote about him in February:
Wentz ultimately owns his fair share of the blame for the Eagles’ downfall since winning a championship. And while you may think it harsh, the reality is he quit on the Eagles. He wanted out when the going got tough. Can I understand why Wentz, as a human being, didn’t want to be part of the mess he’s leaving behind? Of course. The Eagles currently don’t have a very bright outlook. The roster is old, bad, expensive, and inflexible thanks in no small part to poor personnel decisions from Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman. The new coaching staff is largely unproven. But it’s incumbent upon a leader to help right the ship when things go awry, not tuck their tail and give up at the first sign of adversity. Wentz turned his back on an organization that made a lot of effort — to a fault, even — to cater to him. It’s hard not to feel like Wentz was too scared and/or too entitled to accept returning and competing for the starting job. It’s hard not to feel like Wentz believed the Eagles were wrong for benching him, even though it really should’ve happened even sooner with how poorly he was playing.
- I just don’t get the sense this is a player who is taking full accountability for his role in last year’s struggles. I don’t see the kind of humbling that makes me feel like the Eagles are really going to regret this trade. For his sake and as someone who once really believed in Wentz, I hope he does grow and improve. Of course, for the Eagles’ sake, I hope he struggles to the point where Philly gets the best possible version of the Colts’ 2021 first-round pick.
- What’s done is done. Wentz is on the Colts now and the Eagles are moving forward.