MVP con­tender to cheer­leader

Wentz sup­ports Foles as Philadel­phia gets set to play New Eng­land in Su­per Bowl

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY ROB MAADDI

Car­son Wentz made the rounds along Ra­dio Row at last year’s Su­per Bowl and promised him­self he’d back for this one.

He’s here, but only as a cheer­leader.

Wentz led the Philadel­phia Ea­gles to a 10-2 start be­fore he tore his left an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment (ACL) and lat­eral col­lat­eral lig­a­ment (LCL) in Week 14. Nick Foles re­placed him, helped the Ea­gles clinch the NFC East and se­cure the No. 1 seed, and was spec­tac­u­lar in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game against Min­nesota. Wentz watched both play­off games from the side­line: the vic­tory over the Fal­cons on crutches and the rout of the Vik­ings on a cane. He’s root­ing hard for his team­mates and en­joy­ing their suc­cess without him. Wentz will be their No. 1 fan Sun­day when they take on the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots and try to win the fran­chise’s first NFL ti­tle since 1960.

It’s not easy for any com­peti­tor to be forced to sit out.

“It’s just tough know­ing that could be you,” said Wentz, who is walk­ing without as­sis­tance now.

“I had my sights set on this thing since I knew we weren’t mak­ing the play­offs last year. I had my sights set on play­ing in Min­neapo­lis. It’s right down the road from home. Here we are. It just looks dif­fer­ent for me.” Wentz, from neigh­bour­ing North Dakota, is more than just a spec­ta­tor. He has been a ma­jor pres­ence around the team fol­low­ing surgery, goes to quar­ter­back meet­ings, watches film and sup­ports Foles as much as pos­si­ble.

“He’s been out­stand­ing,” of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor Frank Re­ich said. “One of the great­est things about a per­son is when you see him cel­e­brat­ing some­body else’s suc­cess.

To be happy for Nick who is at your po­si­tion, who could po­ten­tially be steal­ing an­other per­son’s thun­der, that’s the pretty cool thing about, of all the great things that he’s done this year, even more ex­em­pli­fies the kind of leader that he is.”

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