Carson Wentz Still Adjusting to Being 'the Man' in Philly - NBC 10 Philadelphia

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Carson Wentz Still Adjusting to Being 'the Man' in Philly



    Carson Wentz Still Adjusting to Being 'the Man' in Philly
    Carson Wentz still adjusting to being 'the man' in Philly

    What do we really know about Carson Wentz? He's a good quarterback. He loves to hunt and fish. He's very religious.

    Honestly, that's about it.

    He's been an Eagle for a year and a half and our knowledge of the would-be savior of the franchise remains a closed book. A mystery to everybody in Philadelphia.

    So what about the real Carson Wentz? What about the guy who hasn't let us get to know him yet? What is Carson Wentz all about when he lets his guard down? Who is Carson Wentz beyond a devout hunter who throws a football far?

    Wentz ponders the question for a second and then smiles.

    "That's pretty much all there is to it," he said. "I'm pretty simple."

    We want to know everything about our quarterbacks. It's natural for a football-obsessed fan base. We knew all about Randall Cunningham's childhood, Donovan McNabb's high-profile college career, Michael Vick's stay in prison.

    But Wentz?

    The 24-year-old from Bismarck, North Dakota, says there's not much to really know. In a recent interview, he said he'll always keep his life private but admitted there's not much about him that people don't know.

    "I feel like what I am and who I am is kind of out there," he said. "I do like being low-key, I do like being private, for the most part. I think this business, this world that I've come into, is really cool, but it can be a lot sometimes and sometimes it's just nice to go home and be chill and be away from everything. But it's cool at the same time.

    "I definitely do enjoy it. There are perks of it. Honestly, seeing kids and stuff? That part's really cool. Seeing how excited they can get. But at the same time, there are times I just want to go into Target real quick and or have something go on in my life so there's those things.

    "But honestly? What people know about me? That's who I am and what I am and there's really not a lot more to it."

    Wentz knew what he was getting into when the Eagles drafted him. He knew how rabid the fans are here, he knew that the size of the market meant more intense scrutiny than most NFL cities, and he knew that the lifestyle he knew from small-town North Dakota and craved for himself as he moved on with his life would be very difficult to maintain.

    To help isolate himself, he moved into deep South Jersey, where he can hunt and fish and get around with a large degree of anonymity.

    But celebrity is impossible to avoid. No matter how hard you try.

    "I was in the mall in Deptford in the spring," Wentz said. "I was literally talking to a guy for 20 minutes and there was a line of 20 people waiting.

    "I said, 'Guys, I literally have to go. This isn't going to work.'"

    Wentz got a taste of it in college. He was considered a god at North Dakota State and really throughout the Fargo area.

    It prepared him for all this. But only a little.

    "I did kind of have an idea that's what it was going to be," he said. "Back in Fargo even, before the draft, that's kind of what it evolved into. Even playing as a senior in college. In Fargo, Bison football is what it's all about.

    "Just going to places in college, you kind of got that treatment to some extent. I was ready for it, but obviously, it's a bigger scale here. It's cool at the same time."

    Wentz said it's a nearly impossible challenge balancing his desire to just be a normal person and run to Target when he needs a few things while still maintaining his obsessive privacy.

    "You kind of pick and choose, honestly," he said. "I know for me in the offseason, I wasn't as reserved about things, like going public. It is what it is. But during the season I like to be focused on football and then go home and be insulated.

    "So it's kind of pick and choose and knowing when you're comfortable with those things. But at the same time, it's part of it, and I'm learning every time I go do something  - the reaction and everything. But honestly, just kind of learning on the fly.

    "And like where I live, for example, I've gone to some places down there a number times where it's starting to get normal a little bit where I can kind of be fairly casual for the most part."

    Wentz said when he leaves the NovaCare Complex at night and heads home he likes to get completely away from football.

    He spends time with his brother and his family, who live 10 minutes away in deep South Jersey, and likes to play with his dogs in his large backyard.

    Wentz said he spends about 12 hours a day at the NovaCare Complex during the season, and when he leaves, he doesn't want to talk about or think about football. Being home is an important time for him to refresh and escape the game a bit.

    So if you run into Wentz at the Deptford Mall, ask about his dogs, hunting or his favorite podcast.

    Just don't ask about football. And that goes for family members, too.

    "There's times where I'll be talking to my mom and she'll be asking me football questions and I'll be like, ‘Mom, I'm going to hang up,'" he said.

    "Like, I'll call you to see how you're doing, but I don't want to talk about football.' Even my brother, who knows the game really well, will talk about it (but only) if I bring it up."

    On Sunday, Wentz will become only the third homegrown quarterback in the last 40 years to start two straight openers for the Eagles, joining McNabb and Cunningham.

    It feels like Wentz has already embraced the city and the fans more than McNabb ever did. McNabb, for all his success, never came across as someone who loved playing in Philadelphia.

    Wentz has made that connection in a very deep way in a little over a year, and he's done it while still staying true to his North Dakota roots.

    He's managed to stay true to his roots 1,600 miles away while still truly becoming a Philly guy.

    "The things I like about North Dakota, that's who I am," Wentz said. "I'm not going to let the culture I live in and where I live kind of change me. I'm just going to keep being me.

    "If other people embrace it, that's cool. If they don't, I'm OK with it because I'm comfortable with who I am. Like the hunting and all that stuff, I'm fortunate enough that I can do that out in New Jersey. I can kind of get that peace of mind to get away from the game.

    "It's kind of just who I am and what I'm about. Not going to let where I live and the circumstances change that."

    All of this doesn't mean Wentz doesn't appreciate what makes Eagles fans unique. He does. 

    He clearly gets it.

    "My brother and I and his wife were going to dinner in the spring and some guy knew who I was and just kept walking by, but kept screaming, ‘You're the (expletive) man,' and started doing the Eagles' chant," Wentz said.

    "Like the whole street was doing it. That's Philly right there. That's what they're all about. It was hilarious."