ASHBURN, Va. -- Quarterback Carson Wentz went from savior to benched to traded in just five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. On Sunday, when the Washington Commanders host the Eagles, Wentz will be something else: the enemy.
Wentz tried to downplay facing his former team Sunday, but he also admitted his time there was anything but steady. He became a controversial figure in Philadelphia.
"It was definitely a wild ride," Wentz said of his time with the Eagles.
Philadelphia drafted Wentz with the second pick in the 2016 draft, having traded up twice from 13th overall to land him. Wentz was touted as an MVP candidate until tearing his left ACL and LCL in Week 14 of 2017. Less than two months later the Eagles won a Super Bowl with him sidelined.
Two seasons later -- after signing a four-year contract extension -- Wentz threw for a club-record 4,039 yards with 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Then the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft. Wentz, though still considered a high-level quarterback, struggled that season. He was benched for Hurts after 12 games and traded in the offseason to Indianapolis.
"My career has been a whirlwind," said Wentz.
To say the least. That whirlwind landed him in Washington this past offseason in another trade. After two games Wentz has been what the Commanders (1-1) hoped, having thrown seven touchdown passes to two interceptions.
But until his last season in Philadelphia, it was hard to envision him playing anywhere else. He called it life's way of throwing him a curveball. Wentz said he relied on his faith to push forward.
"It does catch you off guard, things change and you have to learn to grow up and change and adapt," he said. "Your perspective on life changes, on your job, on everything. There are always things I look back on and say I could have been better here, as a person, as a teammate. But I thank God for the experience I had even though sometimes they were dark or not how I envisioned them to be, but it allowed me to grow and I'm thankful for that."
Wentz's new teammates say they haven't noticed anything different about him this week.
"He approaches each week with the same mindset," Washington receiver Terry McLaurin said. "But he's a competitor and you know he wants to win them all; it's going to mean something. That's where we come in as playmakers so he doesn't feel he has to win the game himself."
After Sunday's loss to Detroit, Wentz said facing the Eagles would be just "another game." And he said he's trying not to make the game "bigger than it needs to be." Perhaps the emotion will be different when the Commanders play at Philadelphia on Nov. 14.
Also, the Eagles changed coaches after he was traded as well. The front office remains largely the same, but on the field a lot of players are gone.
In 2017, Wentz threw for 33 touchdown passes, despite playing in just 13 games. Only Seattle's Russell Wilson threw more that season with 34. Wentz helped put the Eagles in position to earn home field advantage throughout those playoffs, which helped them reach the Super Bowl. That's why, Wentz said, despite the harsh ending his time wasn't bad.
"There are a lot of real good memories from my time there, not gonna lie," he said. "A lot of great friends, a lot of great relationships that I made so I'll definitely have mixed emotions ... It was a fun couple of years while I was up there. I definitely cherish my time."