Fall 2021 SS Magazine

QB Carson Wentz traded from Philadelphia to Indianapolis, reunites with coach Frank Reich

After five years in Philadelphia, quarterback Carson Wentz is moving to Indianapolis. ESPN is reporting that the Eagles and Colts have agreed on a trade that would send a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Wentz.

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The move (which cannot become official until the new NFL year begins March 17) gives the Colts, who just lost Philip Rivers to retirement after his only season with the club, its fourth different starting QB in the past four years. And it gives the Eagles some compensation for their starting quarterback entering the past five seasons. 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, who went 1-3 in his four starts.

Drafted No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft, Wentz 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.

The Eagles offensive coordinator that year was Frank Reich, who became the Colts head coach following the Super Bowl. Because of the Wentz-Reich connection, many thought Indianapolis was the most likely destination for Wentz if he were traded this offseason.

With Reich leading the offense and Wentz starting 13 games in 2017, the Eagles finished the regular season as the No. 3 scoring offense (28.6 points per game). That was Wentz’s only Pro Bowl season and he was squarely in the MVP conversation prior to injuring his knee. He threw a career-high 33 touchdown passes in those 13 games, with only seven interceptions.

Wentz and Reich are also connected because of their strong faith in Christ.

Wentz has been open and vocal about how God guides his life ever since he entered the NFL. 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.

“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.’”

Reich, meanwhile, says his “No. 1 goal is to magnify the name of Jesus Christ first and foremost above all things.” After his 14-year NFL playing career was over, he went to seminary and thought ministry might be the path God had for him. But in 2006, Tony Dungy, then the head coach of the Colts, offered Reich an internship. He became the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2009 and rose in the coaching ranks from there.

After helping the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, Reich was named the 2018 AFC Coach of the Year after his first season leading the Colts. Indianapolis has made the playoffs two of Reich’s three seasons in charge.

He says his faith in Christ really began to grow as he entered the NFL in the mid-1980s with the Buffalo Bills, when he realized he could play football at the highest level and still serve the Lord.

“It was just a life changing moment for me when I realized that I needed to make that the top priority in my life and to understand that I can still excel at football,” Reich said before Super Bowl LII. “I can still excel at whatever it was that I wanted to do. But also understand how it integrates to every point of your life.”

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