Carson Wentz spoke from the heart during his introductory press conference, with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie sitting in the front row. Wentz was reflecting on the first time the two met when the Eagles flew out to meet the young quarterback in North Dakota. They felt a strong connection that day, one they would later realize was meant to be.
“It’s a great day for the Eagles,” Lurie said. “Come on up, buddy.”
Wentz addressed the media Monday night for the first time since signing his blockbuster four-year contract extension. He started by thanking the Lord for the opportunity to play football, then praised his wife, entire family, coaching staff and teammates. He promised not to collapse under the weight of increased expectations, vowing to never let money change him.
“I’m never going to change,” Wentz said. “I’m a hard working guy, a blue collar guy and I’m never going to change and nothing’s really going to change in that regard. I’m just as hungry as ever.”
Then, Wentz went back to that first meeting in Fargo when the Eagles flew out to visit him. The 26-year-old recognized upon first glance that this was the organization and the city where he wanted to carve out his legacy. It was truly meant to be.
“I could see it then. I just felt such a great connection with everybody there,” Wentz said. “I thought the workout and meetings went great, and it was cool to see them come to Fargo and get them out of their element and comfort zone, maybe a little bit. Jeffrey Lurie is up here laughing. I think he remembers it a little bit different. I remember meeting them for the first time and feeling a connection from the jump and obviously a couple months later we realized it was meant to be.”
What about all the loot? Wentz’s extension will pay him more than $107 million in guaranteed money, the most ever in NFL history. Doesn’t “stupid money” bring more pressure? Not really, not in Wentz’s mind.
“I’ve said this in the past and when you sign up to play this game, you‘re welcoming that pressure,” Wentz said. “That’s just part of it no matter what’s happened in the past, no matter what’s expected of you in the future, there’s always that pressure.”
“For me, that’s not going to change how I prepare, how I focus, how I go out there and compete in every game,” Wentz said. “You kind of have to block it out a little bit and just keep doing what you know how to do and that’s getting better every single day. The pressure is always going to be there, so I’ll never let it bog me down.”
The analysts have already spewed their opinions on the deal he signed, a relative bargain in this day and age for a franchise quarterback. Wentz has heard and seen it all. The kid from North Dakota wanted to play out his career in Philadelphia, so he let his agents handle the details. If he left any money on the table — and it seems he indeed did — he doesn’t care a lick.
“It was something both sides wanted to get done and I wanted this to be home for a long time, ever since being drafted, it felt like home,” Wentz said. “So as soon as we found something that was a win-win and a really fair opportunity, I jumped at it. Because, like I said, I love this place and I want to be here for a while. I didn’t want to be no place else and felt like it was a good time.”
One major reason the decision came so easily for Wentz was because of the fans and the passion they bring to the stadium. It’s something he’s spoken about many times, but this time it was backed by a contract that keeps him in midnight green through 2024.
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“I’ve said it, I probably sound like a broken record at this point, I don’t think this culture and this city could fit me any better,” Wentz said. “Just with the passion they bring and just how bad they want to win, and I’m wired the same way. I’m extremely thrilled to be here for quite a while now and just excited for it.”