Carson Wentz sat down to read the Bible. He ended up reading a hit piece.
On the morning of Jan. 21, Wentz had just finished breakfast with his wife and was about to have his daily quiet time, where he sits on the couch and reads the Bible. A member of the Eagles' public relations staff sent him the link to a story from PhillyVoice, citing more than half a dozen anonymous Eagles players and sources close to the team. It characterized the franchise quarterback as "selfish," "uncompromising" and "egotistical."
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Wentz on Thursday sat down with a group of select reporters and addressed the situation, providing perspective and context sorely missed from the original report. He allowed that, at times, he can be selfish. He talked even more in-depth about his personality and the look inward he took after the story was published (see story).
While Wentz didn't dismiss the entire report as inaccurate, he did express frustration that any issues weren't resolved in-house and did explicitly shoot down several details.
I just read it and I was a little confused, I guess," Wentz said. "It's never obviously fun to read your name being thrown around like that, but at the end of the day, try not to stress about it too much and let the media or the perception of others dictate who I am. I know who I am, first of all. I know how I carry myself, I know I'm not perfect, I know I have flaws. So I'm not going to sit here and say it was inaccurate and completely made up, I'm not going to do that. But at the end of the day, I will say our locker room is really close. If there were guys that had issues, in hindsight, I wish we could have just talked about them.
Right after Wentz read the report, he admitted he began to play detective, trying to figure out which of his teammates might have said disparaging things about him to a reporter. "But then you're like, ‘does it really matter?'" Wentz said. "You know what I mean?"
When asked if he had encountered any friction in the locker room before this story, Wentz said he hadn't (see full transcript). What seemingly bothered him the most was that if there was a problem, it wasn't resolved internally. He said that part would have bothered him even if the story wasn't about him.
(When) we have an issue, usually we resolve it as brothers, as the family that we are," Wentz said. "It's why I think myself and a handful of other guys were just confused that it came out like that. If there were problems, we just usually handle it and it doesn't come out the way that did.
Wentz didn't want to get into too many specifics from the PhillyVoice report, but, when asked about several, did address a few things he claimed were inaccurate.
1. The PhillyVoice story claimed, a "highly-respected veteran teammate" verbally attacked Wentz for not being a "team guy."
Wentz: "To go off of what I said earlier, I'm not really going to go into specifics about some of those stories, but I didn't know what that was. I didn't know what that was about."
2. The story also claimed offensive coordinator Mike Groh was "bullied" by him. Wentz said he talked to Groh that same day and, "I think we all know that never took place."
Wentz: "I even go back to the year before to Frank (Reich). I know Frank has gone and said him and I used to have these competitive arguments that were healthy. That stuff happens. That's what I think good football teams have, the ability to respectfully do that and kind of be stubborn and those things. That was the same way with Groh. In my opinion, he's a very good football mind. And in my opinion, I feel like I have something to contribute too.
"I feel like we had some really healthy dialogue. And to say, quote, ‘bullied him,' I'd say I think that's, A, kind of disrespectful to Groh. I don't think anyone bullies Coach Groh. And I think, B, we have a great relationship and it's just going to keep getting better. That line, I was just kind of blown away by what that would have meant."
3. Another part of the report said Wentz didn't want to run "Foles' stuff" in the offense. Wentz said he never refused to run plays.
Wentz: "The idea of running Foles' stuff, we both see the game differently to some extent. To say that I was resistant to running his stuff and then vice versa, I don't … there's so many things in the X's and O's of the game, to just say a blanket statement like that, just doesn't necessarily do it justice. Again, we both kind of like different concepts, but we're running similar stuff. And then it's based on what the defense is giving us. … It's just such a blanket statement that there's too many intricacies that necessarily apply."
Instead of spending some customary quiet time on his couch reading The Good Book on the day the story came out, Wentz was forced to deal with an unflattering and partially unwarranted negative story about him. It wasn't exactly how he expected his offseason to begin, but he seems determined to learn from the experience any way he can.
It might have ruined that morning, but it hasn't ruined his days since.
"It kind of changed my attitude a little bit, but just talking to some teammates that talked to me about it and tried to just figure out why and what can we do to resolve it," Wentz said. "But then at the end of the day, I was just like, I went to bed and just on with the next day. I don't turn on the radio, I don't read the papers. I've been off of Twitter for a while other than posting tweets, so I try not to let that tie me down. But again, the real element of it, just learning. If there is truth in this, where can I improve as a teammate and as a player and all that?"
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