April 29, 2016
Less than 24 hours after being selected by the Eagles with the second-overall pick in the NFL Draft, former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz was at the NovaCare Complex in South Philly for his introductory press conference.
Overall, the 23-year-old handled himself well and seemed more relaxed than you might expect someone coming from a relatively small program.
Here's the full transcript from his 15-minute long session with the media:
CARSON WENTZ: First off, I'm very thankful. I've got to thank Mr. Lurie, Mr. Roseman, Coach Pederson, and really this whole organization, this whole staff, for giving me an opportunity. I'm very thankful for it. Last night was crazy surreal for me. As a kid growing up, it was kind of a dream. To finally be here and hear my name called, it was unbelievable.
I'm excited to be here today and real antsy to get to work. They're not letting me go out to practice quite yet, but soon enough.
Q. Did you get any sleep last night, and what's today been like for you?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, I got a little bit of sleep. Flight was fairly early. Today has been really cool. You know, just coming in and getting to kind of reunite again, after the visit and everything with all the offensive staff – really everybody in the organization – and to get a chance to talk with them again, and they're fired up and they're excited. I'm fired up and excited. It's been a good day.
Q. What has your interaction with Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson been like throughout the process and what are your impressions of him?
CARSON WENTZ: He seems awesome. He seems like a real player's coach, someone you can get along with great, and he seems like he knows a lot about football. With him and Coach Reich [Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich] and Coach DeFilippo [Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo], a lot of quarterback knowledge and quarterback minds. I'm just going to try and soak up as much information as quickly as I can from those guys. I'm really excited. I think it's a great opportunity for me to come in and learn from those guys.
Q. These past four months it's been preparing for the draft. What's next for you and what are these next two weeks like before rookie camp?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, keep getting myself ready. Kind of get back to what I've been doing the last couple weeks. Obviously, I'll be getting ready now for the rookie mini-camp and everything, but just got to get myself ready and dive into that playbook if they allow me to. But I'm antsy. I'm antsy and I'm ready to go.
Q. Do you have the playbook yet, and if you don't, when you get it, how long is it going to take before you start diving in and learning it all?
CARSON WENTZ: Well, I'm not sure exactly when I'm getting it, but I know once I do, I'll be diving in right away. I'm pretty -- through this process I've made a couple jokes with some people, I'm like, ‘I’m kind of going crazy, I have no playbook.’ I'm watching film, and I don't even know what to exactly watch for. I'm not reading defenses quite the same because I don't have a playbook, so I'm fired up to get a playbook and to dive right in.
Q. Have you been to Philadelphia before, and can you walk us through your series of events since you touched down in Philadelphia? What have you done since you've been here?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah. I hadn't been here until my visit just one or two weeks ago, and that was real brief. Obviously it was 24 hours, and didn't really get a chance to experience it a lot other than just being at the facility and everything. So I'm excited. I'm excited to kind of see what the city has to offer and see what this place is all about.
Since I touched down, I got a chance – like I kind of mentioned earlier – to really just kind of see everybody again and reunite and just express how excited we both were to do this thing and get to work.
Q. Did you have a cheesesteak?
CARSON WENTZ: I did have a Philly cheesesteak, yes.
Q. Are you becoming a ‘two-handed monster?’
CARSON WENTZ: Working on it, yeah. That's a funny statement, but for those of you that don't know, that was something from the Jon Gruden show. Just working on ball security and everything, and I think it's gotten a lot better.
Q. How familiar are you with the personnel on this roster right now, and have any of the players or anybody reached out to you since you were drafted?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah. You know, I'm familiar a little bit. Obviously, I'm going to get a lot more familiar real quick here. [Eagles TE] Zach Ertz actually texted me yesterday. Seems like a great dude, and I'm excited to meet him. A lot of Tweets from other guys that I think I missed a lot of them, too. But I'm excited to get to know everybody and to get to work with these guys, and it sounds like everyone talks highly of the group of guys in that locker room, and I'm excited for it.
Q. Doug Pederson said that you bleed winning. Where does that competitive spirit and the work ethic come from? Where did you get that from?
CARSON WENTZ: I think first and foremost, it's how I'm wired. If I'm not the best at something, it kind of ticks me off and I want to work my tail off to be the best. It's also kind of my upbringing. My parents and my older brother always pushed me. I always was competitive with him, and I just hate losing. It's just kind of how I'm wired, and hopefully I can bring that to Philadelphia.
Q. I'd imagine the last four days, just getting off the plane on Tuesday and then everything that they had going on in Chicago leading into last night, is it the fulfillment of a dream? Can you describe what those four days were like?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah. Being in Chicago was really fun. It was a great time. I got to interact with some of the local kids there, went to a [NFL] Play 60 event and went to a middle school. Those were awesome. Got to be around some of the other top prospects in the draft, and that was really cool. At the Senior Bowl and the Combine, you only get exposed to those guys in real brief stints because you're so busy, but I got a chance to be around those guys, make some good friends and everything, and then finally last night, walking the red carpet, got in there, did the National Anthem, sat down, and it was already on the clock. So that all happened so fast, it was really surreal, but it was an unbelievable moment that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
Q. You sat your first two years at North Dakota State. I guess the plan going forward is to kind of let you sit and learn a little bit until you kind of get up to speed on the NFL and the speed and all that. How comfortable are you with sitting and waiting, and how patient can you be while you learn?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, as a competitor, you want to be out there, but I understand that there's a lot to that, and I'm going to just come in and learn. For one, that's not for me to decide. I'm just going to come in and learn and compete my tail off, and when Coach [Pederson] feels fit for me to go out there, I'll go out there, and I'll hopefully do well.
Q. Your coach, Doug Pederson, played here and he coached here. What did he tell you that you have to brace yourself for here in Philadelphia?
CARSON WENTZ: We haven't gotten real deep with things yet, just kind of been hitting it off well. But yeah, I mean, everyone has just been telling me about how passionate everybody is. Talking last night to the media again, I just said, you know, ‘They're passionate here. They hate losing.’ I’m like, ‘Heck, I fit right in.’ I hate losing. I'm real passionate about the game, as well. I think that's the general consensus that I keep getting from this Philadelphia area.
Q. Did you hear the word ‘tough?’
CARSON WENTZ: I did, yeah [laughs]. Tough love, that's all part of it. But again, that's all part of it.
Q. For people wondering about making the jump from North Dakota State to the pros, how much did that pro-style offense you ran in college help prepare you for this level?
CARSON WENTZ: You know, it helped me tremendously. I think the transition for me will be a lot smoother than most would think and than [it might be for] most other prospects. At North Dakota State, I was in charge of a lot of things at the line of scrimmage, a lot of play action pass; I was in charge of the audibles, run game checks, you name it. I think that helped me tremendously, set me up for an easier, smoother transition. Obviously, there's going to be more. Obviously, things get more complicated, more complex. There's no denying that, and I'm aware of that, but I think I'll be able to run with it and learn pretty quickly.
Q. When you look at just North Dakota and how the fans are so passionate, how much did that prepare you to be able to handle the passionate fans here in Philadelphia?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, I think a lot of people say North Dakota State, small market, all of these things, which is fairly accurate, but we have some crazy passionate fans back in Fargo. A lot of them were actually down in Chicago going crazy last night at the draft, and I think that passion is something that's just going to be kind of tenfold here in Philadelphia. I think that prepared me well, and they have a high expectation for the team in Fargo, and I know the expectations are high here, as well.
Q. When you realized Philadelphia was a possible landing stop for you, did you go and look at the roster and look at some of the guys here and even what Coach Pederson wants to do from an offensive standpoint?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, a little bit. I didn't want to get caught up in too much as far as where I'd be landing, you know, but even as of last night and everything, just checking out the roster and everything, I'm excited. I think there's some really good, young talent [and it’s a] really good team that's ready to win, and hopefully I can help contribute to that.
Q. Doug yesterday kind of mentioned Brett Favre when he was asked who you reminded him of. Have you patterned your game after an NFL player?
CARSON WENTZ: I don't really pattern after one guy, but hearing that, I thought it was crazy because I grew up just rooting for Favre. I just loved watching him, his toughness, his grittiness, and the energy he brings out there. I think those are things I like to model my game after, and just the fact that I enjoy it. I enjoy the game. I'm passionate about it. But then just some pieces from other people's games such as [Patriots QB] Tom Brady, the way he just dissects things and gets the ball out; [Panthers QB] Cam Newton, similar with just making plays, but the energy, how much fun he has out there; [Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers just makes some unbelievable plays, can extend plays, total command of the field. Those are all things I kind of want to implement into my game, but really want to be my own player.
Q. The fact that you guys won National Championships both years that you were a starter, how much do you think that factors into the way the team evaluated you, not just the Eagles but maybe everybody else?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, I think winning is huge. I think winning solves a lot of problems in organizations and college programs, as well, and I think, like someone said Coach Pederson said, ‘I bleed winning,’ or whatever was the quote there. I think being around a winning environment will help translate into the NFL, as well.
Q. Coach Pederson said that one of the things you need to do is protect yourself a little bit more on the pro level. Is that something that's been relayed to you, and how difficult is that going to be when part of your natural style is to be aggressive and be a part running quarterback?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, I was aware of that from the get-go. In college you're calling -- we had designed quarterback runs like 10 times a game, and when that's the case, I just turned into a running back, and I just didn't think about it. But obviously I'm prepared for the next level. I don't want to get hurt. I want to stay on the field and everything. There's a time and a place to be that guy, but for the most part, I'll learn to protect myself, and I'll learn pretty quickly.
Q. Five or six years ago when you were a walk-on at North Dakota State, did you believe this would be possible, the second-overall pick in the draft?
CARSON WENTZ: You know, I didn't think quite like that, but I didn't know. Once I got on campus, I knew I had the potential. I knew physically I was very talented. I knew that from an early age. But I just had a lot to do yet, a long way to go. I just kept working. Even after last season, all the NFL hype, all those things surrounding me and what I was up to, I just blocked it out. My sole focus was winning ball games at North Dakota State, and I knew that would all take care of itself, and here I am today.
Q. Just to follow up on the question about protecting yourself, you focused on the running part. How about in terms of a passer? You've talked about Aaron Rodgers and how he extends plays and that's something you'd want to do, but there's a fine line between holding the ball and creating a play and holding the ball and taking a sack. How do you get better at handling that?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, you've just got to understand the game, understand the situations. Again, there's a fine line. There's a time and a place to extend plays and there's a time and a place to just concede defeat. You know you're not going to win every down, but you've just got to understand situations and be smart about it.
Q. You talked a couple times about Doug Pederson and how well you hit it off with him when you first met with him. Can you tell me a little more about that? How was that interaction so positive for you?
CARSON WENTZ: Well, you know, it was just -- he was real easy-going and easy to talk to and get along with. Like I mentioned earlier, he seemed like a real player's coach, someone you'd want to play for, because you care about them. You want to do well for them. I don't know, we just hit it off, and I'm really looking forward to talking more ball with him and getting to know him more and working with him for hopefully a long time.
Q. I see you have your brother, Zach, here. Can you just talk about the relationship you two have and how he helped kind of mold you into the player you are or the person you are?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah. You know, he's been -- really been my role model for a long time. Last summer at his wedding, I was giving him a bunch of crap, but at the end of the day, he's always been my best friend. He's been a role model for me. Always looked up to him, and as a kid, I always wanted to compete against him, and he was my standard. If I could even be close to beating him, that was important to me. You know, and then I thought I was doing well. He really helped drive me, and we're just so close with both athletics, academics throughout college and high school and everything, and then family things. We're just really close, so I'm very thankful he's in my life. He's three years older than me.
Q. You talked a little bit earlier about having to be patient both at North Dakota State and also here with the Eagles. The fans of Philadelphia obviously are not patient. They probably want to see you playing sooner rather than later. Is there anything you can draw on from having to sit your first couple years at North Dakota State that can kind of help you with this as far as having to deal with the pressure of not being able to play right away?
CARSON WENTZ: Yeah, again, I just keep saying that's out of my control, but at North Dakota State I learned a lot about myself, you know, and while I wasn't playing, I was just diving in. I wanted to learn as much football as I could and soak up as much as I could from the offensive playbook, the defensive schemes, the whole nine yards. So if that were the case here, nothing is going to change. I'm still going to always prepare the same and compete my tail off and just try and continue to learn. This game is ever evolving, ever changing, and you're never a finished product, so there's always more to learn.
Q. When did you start beating your brother? And at what?
CARSON WENTZ: I don't really know. I know he was always bigger than me. We were joking earlier, I think I finally outgrew him when I was a junior in high school, so probably about then is when I started taking over. I don't know.
Q. What sports?
CARSON WENTZ: I don't know. It was -- we've always competed. I think he's got me in golf, though. That might be it.