Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Carson Wentz's AO1 Foundation recipient of Eagles fans showing appreciation amid trade rumors

Eagles fans are notoriously known as some of the harshest in the NFL, but one radio host in Philadelphia is aiming to change that reputation. And in the process, he’s seeking to raise money for Eagles QB Carson Wentz’s Audience of One Foundation.

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“The John Kincade Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic launched “Project 11” this week, an initiative to encourage fans to donate to AO1. Many around the league are expecting Wentz to be traded this offseason, so Kincade wanted to do something to honor Wentz for his impact in Philadelphia the past five years.

“While the fan base is split with some looking forward to #11 wearing a new jersey, and others angry at the organization for letting it come to this, one thing we can all get behind is charity!” Kincade wrote on the show’s website on Tuesday. “Carson Wentz has done great work in the community via his A01 Foundation. [Whether it’s] his ‘Kingdom Crumb’ food truck, or his charity softball game, he’s tried to make a difference in the area.”

Kincade has been inspired by “Bills Mafia,” which has become known for donating to causes for various athletes.

“It’s a great gesture and it’s totally the opposite of what we in Philadelphia normally do,” Kincade wrote. “We tend to skew negative. I don’t think I’m breaking news there. Let’s flip the script.”

In the first 24 hours of “Project 11,” CBS Sports reported that more than 650 fans had already donated more than $9,100.

The initial ask was for fans to donate $11 in honor of Wentz’s jersey number, but Kincade told CBS Sports that any amount is great. The point is to just show appreciation for Wentz.

“If money’s tight, donate $1.11,” Kincade said. “Donate $11.11, whatever it is. Just let everybody know that, on the way out the door, you’re appreciative of what he accomplished.”

Drafted No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft, Wentz has started 68 games for the Eagles, with a 35-32-1 record, 16,811 regular-season passing yards, 113 TDs and 50 interceptions. He was a Pro Bowler in 2017, when the second-year QB led Philadelphia to an 11-2 record before missing the rest of the season with a torn ACL. The Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl that season with backup QB Nick Foles.

Wentz struggled in 2020, leading the team to a 3-8-1 record in his 12 starts, after which he was benched for rookie Jalen Hurts. Because of the poor season, Wentz is expected to be traded soon.

So if Wentz is on the way out, Kincade wants Philadelphia to show him some respect.

“I’m tired of, over the years, having to defend the Philadelphia fan base,” he told CBS. “You’re talking about the lunatic fringe, this small portion, that is always portrayed as being the norm.”

Fans who donate through Project 11 are giving to an incredible cause. AO1’s mission statement states, “Uplifting individuals and communities around the world by demonstrating God’s love for His people.” The foundation does that through its Thy Kingdom Crumb food truck, its Outdoor Ministry, and the Haiti Sports Complex.

Wentz has long been open and vocal about his faith in Christ, and how it guides his life. He and his wife, Maddie, joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast a year ago, he participated in a discussion through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to provide inspiration during the pandemic, and he shared his story with churches nationwide during Super Bowl weekend through Football Sunday.

“I always said I was a believer in Jesus, but I didn’t really know what He did for me,” Wentz said in Football Sunday. “I thought it was all about what I could do for Him. And when that mindset was kind of flipped on its head — and that it was already done for me, and it was a thing called grace, and I could live for Him freely and not out of rules and obligation — it just changed my life.”

His faith eventually led him to start his foundation in 2017, and make sure the organization’s mission stays centered on Christ. Through the highs of Pro Bowls and big wins, and the lows of injuries and trade rumors, Wentz finds peace in God.

“Because of how much He loves me, He was willing to allow His Son to go through the agony of dying on that cross,” Wentz said in Football Sunday. “And I think that is when the peace just rushes over me and I think, ‘All right God, there is so much more at play than the X’s and O’s of football, and the highs and lows of wins and losses, and that gives me peace.'”

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