Despite taking a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him out of the first quarter in Sunday’s playoff game, a concussed Carson Wentz was waiting for his teammates in the home locker room after the 17-9 loss.
He wanted to thank them.
Each and every one of them.
“He’s like apologizing and stuff,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “It’s like, ‘Bro, it’s out of your control.’ He didn’t let us down at all. We wouldn’t be in this spot without Carson.
“It’s tough for him. Obviously, he really wants to be out there competing. He put a lot of work in to get to this spot and he gets hurt again. It’s just unfortunate, but it’s out of his control.”
Wentz didn’t just go up to every skill player. He didn’t just go up to every offensive player.
He stopped by the locker stall of every single player on both sides.
He thanked them for what they did for the team. He congratulated them on their seasons.
“That’s Carson. No questions asked,” third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld said. “I know it killed him to not be able to play. I was with him on the sideline. I saw the hit and it was pretty tough. It’s not according to anyone’s plan, his plan, but I know he has faith. He’ll bounce back out of this.
“As a teammate, he just wants to be there for his guys. That’s just how it rolled tonight. So proud of the team, Josh (McCown) did awesome. Carson’s obviously going to be around killing it for a long time.”
It was a cruel twist of fate that after waiting and watching the last two postseasons, when Wentz finally made it to a playoff game himself, he lasted just eight snaps.
Jadeveon Clowney’s helmet-to-helmet hit knocked Wentz out of the game in the first quarter. Wentz finished the drive but was then ushered into the blue medical tent and then back to the locker room, forcing 40-year-old McCown to finish the game in his place.
The entire team was gutted by the Wild Card Round loss, but it was also gutted for its teammate Wentz, who waited so long for the opportunity, just for his season to end like this.
“You hate to see it,” Boston Scott said. “I didn’t see the hit but you hate to see it. We’re behind him, he’s our leader, we have the utmost confidence in him. I feel for him. Afterwards, he was like, ‘Thank you for what you’ve done.’ And I was like, ‘Are you OK?’”
The big offseason story last year was the PhillyVoice article that, citing unnamed team sources, called Wentz selfish and questioned his leadership.
That leadership isn’t being questioned anymore.
“He’s our quarterback, for sure,” Nigel Bradham said. “He’s a great leader in the locker room.”
Wentz made a concerted effort to become a better leader this year and he did. There was no doubting that the group of makeshift skill players the Eagles finished the season with looked up to Wentz and would have followed him anywhere.
“He already is, but moving forward, he’s going to be a fortified leader,” Jenkins said. “There’s not much he can say he hasn’t been through yet as a quarterback, as a player, as a leader. I think he’ll be better for it.”
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