Meet Cody Kessler, the quarterback that Nick Foles brought to the Eagles


Why did Cody Kessler sign with the Eagles?

He doesn’t hesitate.

“Nick Foles.”

Foles is the gift that keeps giving. 

It was Foles who urged Kessler to consider signing with the Eagles after he was released by Jacksonville, where Kessler and Foles were briefly teammates.

He spoke so highly of this place, he really did,” Kessler said after practice Wednesday. “It really did have a special place in his heart and you could hear that when he talked to me.

Foles signed with the Jaguars on March 11, and the Jags released Kessler on May 5, so even though they were technically teammates, they never practiced together and barely knew each other.

Yet one of the first people to call Kessler after he was released was Foles, who had just taken his roster spot.

He was actually the first person to talk to me other than my family and my agent," Kessler said. "When Jacksonville let me go, he called me that day and we had a really good talk, really about a 45-minute talk just about his journey and what he went through and we started getting to know each other after that. The way he talked about this place was something that really intrigued me, and he wasn’t lying. The locker room is special, the city is special, this team is special. It’s been great.

Foles and Kessler have a lot in common. Both were third-round picks — Foles was the 88th pick in 2012, Kessler the 93rd pick in 2016.

And both bounced around early in their careers and experienced some pretty low points. Foles went from the Eagles to the Rams to the Chiefs and back to the Eagles before he became a legend. 

Kessler is now on his third team in four years and trying to find a home like Foles did.

Kessler said he and Foles met a couple times before their paths briefly converged, but he said they really didn’t know each other at all before Foles picked up his phone and called him this past May.

That's the Nick Foles we all know.

He called a virtual stranger just because he thought he could provide him with some guidance.

He’s just awesome,” Kessler said. “He’s definitely someone that I look up to, someone that obviously went through tough times in his career, ups and downs, something I’ve kind of dealt with, whether it was in Cleveland or Jacksonville last year, kind of a rough time, so it was nice to have that, someone who’s kind of been through the journey, the highs and the lows of this league, someone to kind of lean on and talk to. And I still talk to him. Just one of the most positive, genuine guys I’ve ever been around. Someone you definitely want in your corner.

Foles certainly had more succcess early in his career than Kessler has had.

Kessler went 0-8 in eight starts for the Browns in 2016, although he did have six TDs, just two INTs and a 92.3 passer rating, fourth highest by a Browns QB in the last 50 years.

He sat behind DeShone Kizer in 2017, then was traded to the Jaguars last spring. He went 2-2 for the Jags last year before getting released and signing with the Eagles.

One of his strengths is his anticipation, and he throws a really friendly ball, a ball that’s accurate, and gives his receivers a chance to make a play,” said Nelson Agholor, Kessler’s roommate at USC. “I was happy when we signed him because if I can help him in any way giving himself value then that’s what I want to do. I like him as a person and I like him as a player and with the right opportunity he can have a lot of success in this league.

Can it be here?

After a rocky minicamp, Kessler has looked fairly sharp the first week of training camp and that combined with Nate Sudfeld looking not quite so sharp makes you wonder if he has a shot at the No. 2 job.

It would be an upset, but it’s not all that far-fetched. Sudfeld has been here longer, but Kessler is more experienced and has started and won NFL games.

Something you can’t control, other than you can control how you perform on the field, but I don’t worry about it,” Kessler said. “Me and Clayton (Thorson) are both in the same spot right now, learning the offense, and Carson and Nate have been great talking us through it, telling us what they see and what they’re looking for. My biggest thing is learn the offense, keep making plays, perform in the preseason games, and I don’t think about anything else.

Maybe Kessler will be quickly forgotten around here. Maybe this training camp won’t amount to anything for the 26-year-old. 

One thing is certain: He sure picked the right guy to help guide him along his path.

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