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McFeely blog: Young fan tells Wentz, 'You're like Rocky and I'm like Mickey, still in your corner'

Eagles fan with rare genetic disorder shares words of encouragement with Eagles QB and former Bison star who was benched

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass under pressure from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser (54) during last Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA — Kids are so much better than adults. We offer young Giovanni Hamilton as proof.

Giovanni is a 13-year-old Philadelphia Eagles fan whose favorite player is quarterback Carson Wentz, the former North Dakota State star.

Wentz has had a tough week, which has been part of a tough season. He was benched in the second half of Philadelphia's loss at Green Bay last weekend and, on Tuesday, Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson announced that rookie Jalen Hurts would be the team's starter in place of Wentz for this Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Once one of the NFL rising young stars, the former second overall draft pick has been relegated to backup status and his future in Philadelphia is in doubt. Wentz has been the subject of media and fan criticism and conjecture all season and that has only ramped up this week.

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Yes, Wentz is being paid handsomely to play in the NFL ($32 million per season) and he understands that his position and salary dictate intense scrutiny. But, he's still human. And even wealthy stars need a pat on the back once in awhile when they are having a tough day.

That's where Giovanni comes in.

The youngster, who has a rare genetic disorder called Schwartz-Jampel syndrome that affects his muscles and joints, posted a video to his Twitter account that could be described as a pep talk, telling Wentz "you are still my hero, you are still my idol."

And despite Giovanni's skepticism that Wentz would see the video because the quarterback doesn't spend a lot of time on social media, Wentz responded with a tweet of his own directed at the young man.

"You’re the man Giovanni," Wentz wrote. "I appreciate and look up to you! Never change man!"

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Giovanni hosts a weekly sports podcast and, indeed, his Twitter handle is "Giovanni the Philly Sports Podcaster." And this is not the first time he and Wentz have crossed paths. At Eagles training camp in 2019, the two met for the first time and video of them went viral when a crying Giovanni told Wentz from his wheelchair that, "You're my hero" and they embraced.

In his video, Giovanni encourages Wentz, who has battled through the worst season of his five-year career.

"You're going to get through this. You're like Rocky and I'm like Mickey, still in your corner," Giovanni said, referencing the great Philadelphia-based movie "Rocky."

Giovanni said he was impressed because Wentz cheered on Hurts even after Wentz had been replaced in the Green Bay game.

"This week I'm going to be cheering on Jalen, too, because No. 1, he's wearing a Birds jersey and No. 2, it's what you would do and I want to be like you," Giovanni said.

While the sports media complex is dissecting what's wrong with Wentz and whether his once-promising career can be salvaged, a 13-year-old saw fit to send the quarterback a few words of encouragement.

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That's why kids are so much better than adults.

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum in Fargo-Moorhead. He can be reached at mmcfeely@forumcomm.com or (701) 451-5655.

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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