NFL

Nick Foles Nearly Retired at Age 26, Then Became a Super Bowl Hero

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles took the cliche of a “storybook tale” and truly turned his career into one.

A veteran quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP, Foles has spent most of his career either as a backup or injured. But when Foles has gotten those opportunities, as he showcased in the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl run three years ago, it’s impossible to deny he’s made the most of them.

Foles’ career revival came just a couple of years after he considered retiring — and unlike Antonio Brown, Foles’ retirement thoughts actually had some validity to them.

Nick Foles is in his first year with the Chicago Bears

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Nick Foles is making his case as the greatest backup in NFL history. 

That’s not to say Foles is an ineffective starter — he enters Week 5 with a 26-23 record as the starter, and 21-11 in Philadelphia — but everything considered, he’s made so much of his career while regularly being either injured or on the bench. 

After an inconsistent rookie season, Foles burst out of nowhere to complete 64% of his passes for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only two interceptions across 13 games for the Eagles in 2013. 

Foles threw seven touchdowns in one game and went 8-2 as the starter, leading Philadelphia to an NFC East Division title.

Foles nearly retired after the 2015 season

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After injuries limited Nick Foles to eight starts (although Philadelphia went 6-2 in those games) in 2014, the Eagles traded him to St. Louis for quarterback Sam Bradford.

Foles went just 4-7 and completed only 56.4% of his passes for 2,052 yards, seven touchdowns, and 10 interceptions for the Rams. The dismal year under Jeff Fisher in a new city left Foles, then 26, uncertain about his future in the NFL.

According to Philly Voice, Foles told reporters in January 2018 that he even considered retiring following the 2015 season.

“I had to take a step back and say, you know, ‘Am I doing this for the right reasons?’ Because if I can’t do it with my heart, I can’t do it. I’m not going to do something unless my heart’s in it. So, when you have your heart in something, you give it everything you have, and I think that’s the big thing.”

Foles said he prayed and “leaned” on his wife for advice. The end result was a phone call from former Eagles coach Andy Reid, who offered Foles a backup job in Kansas City.

After a year with the Chiefs, Foles returned to Philadelphia in 2017, and the rest is history.

Nick Foles became an NFL legend instead of retiring

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On the bench for most of the 2017 season, Nick Foles got his chance that December when Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury.

With Wentz out for the postseason, Foles famously completed 72.6% of his passes for 971 yards, six touchdowns, and an interception in the Eagles’ three playoff games. Foles even caught a touchdown in the Eagles’ Super Bowl 52 victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots.

The next season was more of the same. Wentz suffered another late-season injury, and Foles led Philadelphia to a wild-card round victory over Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears.

Foles signed with Jacksonville after the 2018 season, but played only four games last year because of injuries and Gardner Minshew’s emergence. Jacksonville traded Foles to Chicago in the offseason.

Foles relieved Trubisky in Week 3 and threw three touchdowns in a 30-26 comeback victory over Atlanta. Although Foles completed 62% of his passes in Week 4, Chicago couldn’t get past Philip Rivers and the Colts in a 19-11 loss. 

It’s been quite a long time since Nick Foles led a team for the majority of a season. Still, Chicago has to feel optimistic about their chances with Foles, even in a strange 2020 season.

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