Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz slam report criticizing Carson Wentz: 'We are all behind him 100 percent'
A PhillyVoice report cited anonymous players who called Wentz 'selfish' and 'egotistical'
The Philadelphia Eagles are publicly committed to Carson Wentz as their long-term quarterback, but a PhillyVoice report on Monday abruptly painted the former MVP candidate as "selfish" and "egotistical" within the team's locker room.
Citing "more than a half dozen" anonymous Eagles players, Joseph Santoliquito wrote that many within the organization thought Wentz "may have been the root of the Eagles' offensive problems" in 2018. Upon returning from offseason knee surgery, he reported, the former No. 2 overall draft pick "bullied" new coordinator Mike Groh, acted "like he's won 10 Super Bowls," complicated game-planning out of a dislike for running "Foles' stuff" and played "favorites" by over-targeting Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz.
Not all of Santoliquito's reported observations are new, as ESPN's Josina Anderson hinted in November that anonymous Eagles sources believed Philadelphia's offense was centered too much on Ertz.
But several Eagles, including Ertz, backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld, All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Pro Bowl linemen Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks, have already taken to Twitter to defend Wentz, saying "none of that is true" and that "we are all behind him 100 percent." In his own tweet, Ertz called Wentz "nothing but a great person, great teammate and great leader since Day One."
Kelce went into even more detail in a text to The Morning Call's Nick Fierro, as reported later Monday.
"Carson through the first three years has been nothing but a great teammate trying to get better each and every day, trying to make others better each and every day, trying to make this team better each and every day," he said. "And when the dust has settled, his legacy will be one of an incredible competitor and teammate who laid it on the line each and every day for the guy next to him, and a man who did everything he could to help this team succeed. I'll go to war any day of the week and twice on Sunday with guys like Carson Wentz."
Asked to clarify, correct or confirm the PhillyVoice report of internal criticism of Wentz, a former Eagles player, Wentz teammate and friend of the quarterback declined comment to CBS Sports. A separate NFL source who has worked with the Eagles, when asked if there had been any talk of discord between Wentz and his teammates, told CBS Sports he had "never heard anything like this."
SportsRadio 94 WIP's Glen Macnow has since echoed the apparent consensus in responding to the report via Twitter, saying "no one has ever disparaged Wentz as a teammate or a leader."
As Bleeding Green Nation's Brandon Lee Gowton notes, there are "a lot of questions to be answered" surrounding Wentz entering the 2019 season -- Will there be added pressure for Wentz to prove himself after Nick Foles' two straight playoff runs? Can Wentz stay healthy after two straight season-ending injuries? How does all of this affect negotiations for an expected big-money contract extension between Wentz and the Eagles?
Until the PhillyVoice report, however, none of the big questions had much to do with Wentz's character.
If anything, the former North Dakota State product has been heralded for his humility since taking over as Eagles quarterback in 2016. Behind closed doors may be a different story, but Wentz quietly supported Foles during his Super Bowl LII run despite helping lead the Eagles to the playoffs with an MVP-caliber season. He's made headlines in the community, and filling Citizens Bank Park with both teammates and fans for his inaugural charity softball game. And countless Eagles, Foles and coach Doug Pederson included, have gone above and beyond to highlight his leadership.
After missing the final five games of the Eagles' 2018 season with a stress fracture in his back, Wentz is expected to return to the field for Philadelphia's offseason workouts and reclaim his starting job for 2019.
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