20 NFL players to watch in 2020: Chicago Bears QB Nick Foles

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

For the second year in a row, quarterback Nick Foles is adjusting to new surroundings and new teammates. The 2017 Super Bowl MVP was traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Chicago Bears in March and has been competing with Mitch Trubisky for the starting job.

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Both QBs played well in training camp, and the competition came to an unofficial close Wednesday when the Bears had their final full practice of training camp. Head coach Matt Nagy is expected to officially announce the team’s starter this week, but early reports say Foles will be the backup.

Whatever role Foles finds himself in, it’ll be one the ninth-year pro has experienced before. He’s been a starter and a backup, most notably with Philadelphia. He filled in for an injured Carson Wentz and guided the Eagles to the playoffs in 2017 (winning the Super Bowl) and 2018. Foles then signed with the Jaguars last offseason, only to break his collarbone in Week 1 and not return to the field until Week 11. He ended up starting four games for the Jaguars, throwing for 736 yards and three touchdowns.

Yet, Foles was able to find joy and hope in Christ in the midst of the adversity he was going through last year. When asked about the injury in a press conference in November, the 31-year-old pointed to the Gospel and his larger purpose in life. He explained how the fact he was injured didn’t change his mission or identity as a Christian.

“I don’t believe in the prosperity Gospel,” he said. “I believe if you read the Word of God and you understand it, there’s trials along the way but they equip your heart to be who you are.”

In May, he and former teammate Chris Maragos started “The Mission of Truth” podcast, where they discuss faith and the challenges they’ve faced as professional football players.

“The Lombardi Trophy was a platform that God allowed us to have, and our sufferings and trials are places we can meet every single person on the earth and we can talk about that,” Foles told Sports Spectrum in May. “But then the most important thing is, ‘Where does our hope lie?’ And that’s ultimately in Jesus Christ.”

The goal of the podcast is not only to talk about Foles’ and Maragos’ experiences as Christ-following NFL players, but also to provide hope and encouragement.

“God has allowed us to have a platform,” Foles said. “This was an opportunity to be bold and start something like ‘The Mission of Truth’ podcast with my brother Chris to where we can share different life experiences we’ve gone through, talk about the real stuff, but then also show people there is hope. There is light. There is a way to get through them.”

On the field, the Bears enter 2020 in search of their second NFC North title in three years. The team went 8-8 last season after a 12-4 campaign in 2018. Chicago opens the season on the road against the Lions on Sept. 13.

Whether Foles wins the Bears’ quarterback competition or not, he understands he is ultimately defined by his relationship with Christ. For Foles, what happens on the football field is secondary to the relationships that are built and the influence he can have as a teammate.

“We tend to make this so much about us as human beings,” Foles said in the aforementioned press conference. “We tend to make it about us as athletes. It is not about us. It really isn’t … My purpose isn’t football, it’s impacting people. My ministry happens to be the locker room.”

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