PHILADELPHIA – Quarterback Nick Foles contemplated leaving the NFL and retiring in 2016. He lost the love for the game that once sent him to the Pro Bowl. Foles decided to stick with it. Now he is going to start at Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

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“I’m just grateful and humble to be a part of this team,” Foles said after leading the Eagles to an NFC title. “To be in this moment, and to share it with our family, our fans, all of the people who love the Philadelphia Eagles, this franchise, and my teammates. It is honestly unbelievable and words just can’t describe it.”

Foles struggled at the end of the regular season causing many of the so-called experts around the country to doubt the Eagles. Now he is on fire this postseason and that might be an understatement. Foles has completed 49 of 63 passes for 598 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His decision-making should also be praised. Foles has found a way to avoid pressure when it gets through and has taken just two sacks in two playoff games.

“The special thing is that no one in the locker room doubted me,” Foles stated. “Everyone just kept believing. That’s the beautiful thing when you look back at the journey and you realize that it wasn’t always great. There were bumps in the road but you were able to overcome them with the people around you who believe in you and love you. That’s the special thing in this moment.”

True, the locker room did not publicly doubt Foles. They have had his back since he took over for the injured Carson Wentz en route to a win in Los Angeles over the Rams. The Eagles were rewarded for that support with an amazing performance over the NFL’s top rated defense. Foles completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.

“The guy is the same guy we always thought he was,” Tight End Zach Ertz said. “He was brought in to be the backup for a reason because if something were to happen to the franchise quarterback the season would not be lost. A lot of people thought it was lost, but we never did as players. We are just happy we are going to the Super Bowl.”

“He has been exactly who we know he is,” Wide Receiver Torrey Smith exclaimed. “All that he has been through the past few years. He had the opportunity on this stage with this team to lead us the way he has even though it wasn’t planned that way. He’s resilient and a heck of a leader. I’m extremely happy for him.”

Foles’ improbable rise to a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl has a lot to do with reps in practice. He missed nearly the entire training camp with a sore elbow. That meant little to no throwing in practice and as a result no work on timing with receivers. That turned into a small number of reps as the regular season started due to his status as the backup quarterback. However, after Wentz was injured and he assumed the starting quarterback’s reps, it was only a matter of time until everything clicked into place.

“The guy didn’t even have a preseason camp, he was hurt,” Ertz shrugged. “He finally got the chance to start working with us and it is paying off. That bye week was huge. I think the way we approached the bye week was huge and unprecedented. We continued one’s against the one’s. It wasn’t easy for us, but I think that helped us a lot.”

“Even as a receiver, when you get more reps and more passes thrown your way you get more comfortable and tend to do better,” Smith explained. “When things are spotty and you don’t have your chances, reps are everything. The more time you get to work at your craft , the more comfortable you get and in the past month he has been able to get those reps and it has been huge for us.”

Foles’ path to this moment has certainly been the road less traveled. He has experienced the highs and lows that come with success and failure. Foles put up Pro Bowl numbers in 2013 when he completed 27 touchdown passes while throwing just two interceptions including seven touchdowns in one game against the Oakland Raiders. Fast forward to a rough season the year after and eventually Foles fell into a forgotten role with the Rams. He has a special bond with Head Coach Doug Pederson, who helped bring Foles into the league when Andy Reid was still the Head Coach in Philadelphia.

“This has been a crazy journey this year with everything that has gone on,” Foles stated. “Coach Pederson is the one who drafted me. He was the only coach who flew down to Texas and worked me out. I was only worked out by one team, and that was by Coach Pederson. Coach [Andy] Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles took a chance on me. To win this game for him and this organization is something very special.”

If Foles can win the next game than he can redefine the word special. The Philadelphia Eagles have never won a Super Bowl. Accomplishing that would forever tie his name to this city and allow him to describe himself in a way no other Eagles quarterback can, Super Bowl Champion.

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