February 04, 2019
Exactly two weeks ago, PhillyVoice ran a story about Carson Wentz that got a lot of attention, criticism and was interpreted in a bevy of ways — from spot-on to being called fake news.
This publication stands behind its reporting, and several members of the staff defended the article on radio, TV and in print throughout an eventful week following the NFC and AFC championship games.
Monday morning, several news outlets ran quotes from Wentz himself responding to the article. In an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia, The Athletic, Philly.com, ESPN and others, the quarterback confirmed some of the reporting, saying he often does act in ways that can be seen as "selfish." He also expressed disagreement with several specific examples that PhillyVoice's sources pointed out on the record, though anonymous, such as his clashes with offensive coordinator Mike Groh.
Wentz said in the interview that his first instinct was to try out who the quotes came from but that he settled down.
He seemed humble and took the PhillyVoice article as a wake up call while also standing up for himself, a combination of leadership skills Eagles fans can be proud to see exhibited.
Below is a transcript of the some of the interview. As the news outlet that broke the story Wentz responded to, we feel it important to give Wentz' full unabridged answers to some of the most important questions that were asked. For the full transcript, you can head over to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
At what point did you hear about the story that PhillyVoice did and what was your initial reaction?
“I heard it that morning. John (Gonoude from Eagles PR) actually sent it over to me and I was, like, I just read it and I was a little confused, I guess. 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.
But, again, I don’t know how that all happened and everything with that. Again, it’s never fun to read, but to extent, you look at it and be like, ‘well, if someone did have this perception of me, why? What have I done wrong? What can I get better at? I realize I have my shortcomings. Yes, I can be selfish. I think we all have selfishness inside of us. There’s human elements to that, that I really look at and say, ‘well, I can get better.’ I always say I can be better on the field, off the field, how I carry myself. But I didn’t want to make it bigger than … I think everyone probably ran with it different ways and I just kind of said, ‘look, I’m just going to live my life out here and I’m going to let that kind of shape out how it may.’ Honestly, I haven’t really read what’s been happening since. Again, it’s not fun to read, but you try to take what you can from it and be better, I guess.”
Wentz talked about trying to figure out who said what, but ultimately said that he just wishes it would've been handled internally rather than by players going to the media.
How are you planning on handling it, or how have you been handling it to discover whether there was truth and if so how to resolve those issues with whoever may have had a problem?
"Initially I’m like trying to figure out who could it have been. In your mind you play detective. But then you’re like, ‘Does it really matter?’ If there were issues, I think if someone did say those things, they’re probably like, ‘Yeah maybe that’s not how it should have came out.’ You know what I mean? I think if that was said, they probably realize like as a teammate and as a family, we usually handle things in house, like I said. And so, I’m kind of like it doesn’t even matter. I’ll learn from it and we’ll all learn that A, things shouldn’t kind of come out the way it did, and B, the pieces that I can learn from it and be a better teammate and player and all that stuff I will grow from. But other than that, just turn the page.”
However, one of the moments from the story that involved a player directly questioning Wentz in the locker room, does not ring a bell for Wentz. He didn't deny that it happened, he just said that he "didn't know what that was" in reference to.
There was one thing from the story that said a highly respected player called you out for not being a team player. Did that happen?
“To go off of what I was saying earlier, I’m not really gonna get into specifics about some of those stories, but I didn’t know what that was. I will say I didn’t know what that was about.”
Wentz also said that he never "bullied" offensive coordinator Mike Groh, despite what PhillyVoice reported in its story last month. That being said, Wentz didn't deny that there was some truth to the story what he teammates had told us off the record.
You said you looked at some of the things and thought are there things you could do differently. What did you come out with? Was some of it truthful? Are there things to work on?
“Well, I think just some of the… I’m trying to… it seems like forever ago. I’m trying to remember exactly what was said. But like, some of the selfishness and that stuff, well yeah, I’ll be the first to admit I can be selfish. We’re all kind of stubborn in our own right to liking certain plays or liking certain things our way. So in my mind, I’m like, ‘Ok, am I ever over the top with that?’ Like, can I be better? Kind of still be stubborn but with humility more. And just little things like that. But at the same time, just how I treat my teammates, all those things, it just caused me to kind of reflect. I’ll be straight up. It hasn’t been the easiest last year for me on the physical level, just battling the injuries, but then just personally going through it, sitting on the sideline and then playing and then sitting on the sideline again. So I realize like I maybe wasn’t the greatest teammate at times because I was emotionally kind of all over the place. To the outside world, I probably didn’t show it much. But internally, I mean, you’re definitely fighting some sort of emotions as you guys would probably expect. So there’s things to learn just about how to handle myself in certain situations. But nothing really specific from that, other than what I just shared.”
Then there's the question of how Wentz handled the criticism, which, based on his answers above, he seems to have dealt with extremely well.
You’ve never really been criticized before so this is something new for you. How difficult is that?
That’s a good question. I think one thing you do think of is coming for the draft, everything’s picked apart. You’re criticized, you’re pumped up, everyone is ripping through you, the good, the bad, the ugly, and so just knowing kind of where I’ve grown up and to some extent you’re right. In college, criticized, never was necessarily, but maybe just looked down upon. That was something coming out, I felt like I had to prove people wrong and that sort of thing. And so I’ve just kind of learned to not worry about other peoples’ perceptions or others’ perspective and really what matters is first, I know what my identity is in Christ first and I’ve got to always keep that in perspective first and foremost and then be a good teammate, being around my brothers and not worrying about the fans and everybody else because you’re never going to make everyone happy and that’s just exhausting trying.”
Wentz wasn't just asked about the PhillyVoice story. He was also asked about how his injured back is feeling.
What happens now – how’s your back, what’s your timetable?
“It’s getting better. It’s getting better. Any time you have a broken bone, you can’t really rush anything. Even though it is a stress fracture, it’s different. But it’s still fractured. So just trying to progress on pace. So come spring, hopefully we’re out there, we’re working, we never look back. And just keep progressing to the season. And I’m excited. I’m excited to put all this behind me, the injuries, and then do everything I can to just be healthy, stay healthy, and get back on this driver’s seat. I’m excited for where this team’s heading."
How about the knee?
“It’s a process. As far as injury prevention, I felt great. I didn’t feel — I felt confident, all those things — but as far as being explosive and all those things, I never quite, and I’m not going to use it as an excuse by any means, but I watched the tape from two years ago, you watch last year, you can say I wasn’t quite there as far as mobility stuff. And that’s something I’ll keep working through. And everyone kind of says it’s an 18-month, two-year thing to get really feeling strong again and back to normal. It’s getting better. It’s going to keep getting better. And I don’t think we’ll worry about hopefully either of these injuries going forward.” [NBC Sports Philadelphia]
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