Spring 2021 Magazine

20 NFL players to watch in 2020: Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz

Through Sept. 13, the first Sunday of the 2020 NFL season,
Sports Spectrum is highlighting one Christ-following player each day for 20 days.

After three years in the NFL, the last two of which he battled injuries and missed a combined eight games, Carson Wentz finally made his playoff debut in 2019. He started every regular-season game, led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 9-7 record, which was good enough to win the NFC East, and earned a home playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

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Wentz lasted just nine snaps before a helmet-to-helmet hit sidelined him for the rest of the game with a concussion.

Initially, things didn’t look good. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Wentz briefly lost his memory on the sideline and had trouble sitting still. But by the time he made it to the locker room, Wentz was fine. He cleared all the concussion protocols the next few days, and had the Eagles won the game (they lost 17-9), Wentz would have been cleared to play the next week.

“Concussions are a scary thing,” Wentz said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this offseason. “Unfortunate way to end the season, but such is life. So onward, and hopefully next year is better.”

Next year is here, and Wentz hopes this is the year he stays healthy all the way through and leads the Eagles to a championship. He played all 16 games as a rookie in 2016, and was playing at an MVP level in 2017 (33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 11-2 record), but then he tore his ACL and missed the final three regular-season games. The Eagles went on to win Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl, though all Wentz could do was watch.

He missed five more games, as well as the playoffs, in 2018, then made it through the regular season last year before suffering the concussion in the playoffs. Wentz finished 2019 with good numbers: 4,039 passing yards (ninth in the NFL) and 27 TD passes (fifth).

“We’re living for Him first and foremost and [when we] really humble ourselves in that, that’s how we get through the good, the bad, the ugly together.”
— Carson Wentz

In 2020, as he looks to build on last year and regain his Pro Bowl form from 2017, Wentz will do so as a new father. He and his wife, Maddie, whom he married in 2018, welcomed a baby girl into the world in April.

In his interview with Sports Spectrum, Wentz talked about how excited he was to become a father and how comforting it is to have a Godly wife supporting him at home. Carson and Maddie met while on a missions trip, and their foundation has always been rooted in Christ.

“You really have to go back to the root and the foundation of the relationship and the marriage, and that’s Christ,” Carson says. “So for us (during disagreements), sometimes it might take an hour to get there, it might take two days to get there; we’re both stubborn. But when we can finally just go to bed and say this is what the foundation is, it’s about Christ, we’re living for Him first and foremost and really humble ourselves in that, that’s how we get through the good, the bad, the ugly together.”

Wentz has never been shy about his faith in Christ, and he lives it out in many ways, none more so than with his AO1 Foundation. He has an “AO1” tattoo on his right wrist, and on his right biceps is “Proverbs 3:5-6,” one of his life verses.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

“The beginning, ‘trust in the Lord,’ that’s an easy one to say you checked the box, and ‘He will make your paths straight’ sounds great at the end,” Wentz told Sports Spectrum. “But ‘leaning not on your own understanding and submitting’ is the biggest challenge for me. I think for a lot of people, especially men that think they’re smart, you know?

“So for me that’s one that I always have to just keep going back to and saying, ‘All right God, I’m going to not just trust in You, but I’m going to lean not on what I know and what I think is best.’ And I’ve had to live that through relationship issues, through family drama, through injuries in high school and college and the pros, just so many different situations that we all go through. ‘All right God, now I’m forced to trust in You. This isn’t my own understanding, I’m submitting this to You.’ And that’s a daily submit, and it’s definitely a challenge, but it’s something that I have to walk through every day.”

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