Quarterback Carson Wentz's NFL journey has been a roller coaster since he was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2016 draft. He was with the Eagles until 2020, winning a Super Bowl there, but was injured for the championship and it was backup Nick Foles who instead hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.
Injuries have plagued his career and after his time in Philly he played last season with the Indianapolis Colts, missing the playoffs with a 9-8 record.
Now Wentz is with the Washington Commanders, and while many do not have much faith in the 29-year-old, his new coach Ron Rivera, who is not taking past comments about the quarterback too seriously.
Playing golf with Wentz and other members of the team, Rivera said he did not see what others said about Wentz struggling with teammates.
"And you watched him, and he integrated himself with everybody so easily. It was really cool to see," Rivera said. "It sure looked natural to me. And it's funny because I've heard a lot of things about what was said in Philadelphia, I heard a lot of things that were said in Indianapolis."
The more Rivera saw on Wentz, the more impressed he was with how he operated.
"He's brilliantly smart. He came in, got in his book and got to work. He's just one of those guys that works at it. And in some respects, it was similar to when I was in San Diego and I saw the way Philip Rivers was, how smart Philip was. And this guy is smart. Watching Carson, it's like, this guy's got it, and he really did remind me of Philip to a degree. … It was really pleasing to see," the head coach said.
When Wentz arrived, Rivera wanted him to know the Commanders were happy to have him.
"Just know you're coming somewhere you're wanted," Rivera told his new quarterback.
Wentz admits this has been a transition for him and his family, but says he felt welcome from the start.
"I felt it from the jump, honestly, within minutes of getting the call from [Colts GM] Chris Ballard about the trade, hearing from Coach Rivera, he was very forthright, and couldn't express his excitement more, which meant a lot to me," Wentz said.
He added, "It's a huge transition, it's a lot of things, it's been well-documented, the ups and downs, and the being-caught-off-guard aspect of it. But coming in and talking to him right away, a guy, I know I've said this on record multiple times, I've had a ton of respect for from afar, meant a lot."