When Nick Foles was a rookie quarterback backing up Michael Vick in 2012, the Eagles had a 34-year-old offensive quality control coach who had been a college quarterback, a rocket art and worked often with the QBs.
His name was Matt Nagy, and he and Foles quickly grew close.
Andy Reid and his staff were fired after that season. Foles spent one more year with the Eagles before a miserable season with the Rams, and Reid brought Nagy with him to Kansas City.
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In the summer of 2016, Foles and Nagy were reunited when Reid talked Foles out of retiring and signed him to back up Alex Smith. By then, Nagy was the Chiefs' co-offensive coordinator, along with former Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress.
They had replaced Doug Pederson when he left to become head coach of the Eagles before the 2016 season.
Funny how things work.
Foles remembers arriving in Kansas City in early August 2016, and the generosity Nagy showed him.
"I went to training camp, I signed late," Foles recalled Sunday. "I came to Kansas City and went to get my physical, and I was dropped off at Nagy's house in Overland Park. I had known him from my rookie year. I got to spend time with his family and hang out. Then I drove back (to training camp in St. Joseph, Mo.) with him. I didn't have a car and he let me use his car during training camp, so I could get from place to place. And he just rode with a coach, and that's just who he is as a person."
Here we are 2½ years later, and Foles is a Super Bowl MVP who's rallied the Eagles to the postseason for a second straight year, and Nagy is a Coach of the Year Candidate after taking the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North title in his first year as as head coach.
On Sunday in Chicago, Foles will take on his former mentor when the Eagles face the Bears in a wild-card-round game at Soldier Field.
Foles and Nagy were only together in 2012 with the Eagles and 2016 with the Chiefs, but Foles speaks so highly of the coach he'll go up against this weekend.
"As a coach, he's unbelievable," Foles said after leading the Eagles to a 24-0 win over the Redskins in the regular-season finale Sunday. "I admire him. I'm proud of him and it will be fun to compete against him. He's one of my favorite people in the world. When they hired him, I knew right away he was going to be an outstanding hire and he has been."
It's interesting who Foles singles out when asked what coaches have meant the most to him:
"I think the thing that I always admire -- Doug, Nagy, Andy Reid are in this category -- they are genuine. They are who they are."
It's been a dream season for Nagy and a dream stretch for Foles, and on Sunday these two close friends will try to end each other's seasons.
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