ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

McFeely: Damaged goods in more ways than one, Wentz down to last chance

Former Bison quarterback will move to third NFL team in three years after being shown door in Indianapolis

122921.s.tns.Wentz.Covid.UPDATE.jpg
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz signals to his team during an Oct. 31, 2021 game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Jenna Watson/IndyStar
We are part of The Trust Project.

FARGO — The list of damning stories gets longer, as do the odds Carson Wentz returns to the list of elite NFL quarterbacks.

The former North Dakota State quarterback, once the toast of the state and the NFL, had a bad Wednesday.

The team that appeared to be the perfect fit for the fragile psyche of Wentz, the Indianapolis Colts, is poised to shuffle him off to the Washington Commanders after just one season .

That'll make three teams in three seasons: Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Washington.

And the Colts essentially said, "Don't let the horseshoe hit you in the behind on the way out."

ADVERTISEMENT

The worst part for Wentz is that his NFL vagrancy isn't only performance-based, although that's part of it. Wentz has an irritating habit of trying to make "hero" plays — nearly impossible plays not worth the risk — even though his coaches keep telling him to stop.

Wentz, too, has a career filled with injuries. But it's not just that, either.

A bigger part of the Wentz story is that teams — teammates, coaches, front-office personnel, maybe even owners — just don't like him.

He is Kryptonite.

Two stories published Wednesday were particularly condemning.

The Philadelphia Inquirer had an article recounting an incident in the Eagles' Super Bowl season of 2017 that showed "character defects" in Wentz that alarmed the team.

That was the season Wentz played like an MVP before a late-season knee injury sidelined him. Nick Foles took over Philadelphia's starting quarterback job and led the Eagles to the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.

There had been indications that watching his backup win the Super Bowl by beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots knocked Wentz sideways , and the Inquirer story confirms that.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Sometime before the championship game," the newspaper reported , "Wentz voiced his displeasure with the Eagles’ success to a group of other injured players, sources with direct knowledge of the incident said. One of the players immediately confronted him and the two eventually had to be separated."

He was upset because the Eagles were winning without him? Uff da, as they say in Bismarck.

An article by The Athletic offered the inside story on Wentz's fall from grace in Indianapolis and it was worse than previously believed.

While it was obvious since a disastrous loss to the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars ended the Colts' season that owner Jim Irsay, general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich were strongly considering dumping the quarterback, The Athletic story says the franchise saw red flags before the season even started. Frustration only grew during the season.

"... some grew frustrated at what they deemed a lack of leadership, a resistance to hard coaching and a reckless style of play, which had a role in several close losses this year," the story said.

Those are familiar issues. They followed Wentz from Philadelphia.

MORE CARSON WENTZ COVERAGE:
Pro
Sam Howell, a rookie fifth-round pick out of North Carolina, was named Washington’s starter on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and Wentz, a former NDSU QB, likely will be released after the season.
Pro
Washington's loss to Cleveland on Sunday was a team collapse and it would be tempting to call it one of the franchise's lowest moments but there have been so many in the past quarter-century.
Hot Mic with Dom Izzo from Thursday, December 29th 2022.
A look back at NDSU's previous nine FCS championship games and some of the memorable moments in Frisco, Texas.
Pro
The former NDSU quarterback was subbed in for starter Taylor Heinicke but the Commanders' playoff chances took a hit with loss to San Francisco on Saturday.
Pro
Taylor Heinicke supplants the former Bison QB, who has been out with an injury, as Washington’s QB1 moving forward.
Pro
The former Bison star and Washington QB suffered a fractured right ring finger in the Commanders' win over Chicago last week.
Pro
The former North Dakota State star and Washington Commanders quarterback suffered the injury on his throwing hand Thursday against the Chicago Bears.
Pro
Washington's Ron Rivera walks back comments that suggested the former Bison QB was responsible for the team's sluggish start.
Pro
Another slow start hampers Washington and the former Bison QB, who was sacked nine times in Washington's loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.
Hot Mic with Dom Izzo from Thursday, September 22nd, 2022
Trey Lance is out for the season, while Carson Wentz faces the Eagles for the first time.
Pro
The former NDSU and current Washington Commanders QB said he's excited to play against his old team on Sunday.
Former Bison quarterback Carson Wentz reminds fellow NDSU alum Trey Lance that the acronym NFL really stands for "Not for Long".
NDSU has 15 former players with NFL teams, including 12 players on 53-man rosters with the regular season starting this week.

"But this wasn’t just a football move. Wentz's play, inconsistent as it was to close the year, wasn’t the deciding factor. Colts' brass simply didn’t trust him to be the franchise quarterback moving forward, and they weren’t willing to bring him back in 2022 and hope for better," according to The Athletic article. "Thus, the decision was made swiftly after the Week 18 debacle in Jacksonville: Wentz wouldn’t return for a second season in Indianapolis."

Wentz tried to set up a meeting with Irsay, who was miffed the quarterback didn't get vaccinated against COVID-19 and missed time because of it, but was initially rebuffed, The Athletic reported. They eventually spoke.

ADVERTISEMENT

"According to one source, the Colts' divorce with Wentz this offseason was only a matter of time. All that needed to be decided was whether the team would trade or cut him," the website reported. "And the fact that the Colts were willing to move on from him without a viable Plan B in place — not to mention a thin free-agent class and no first-round draft choice — is especially telling. That’s how determined the Colts were in their decision."

This is all a bad reflection on Wentz. The Colts seemed to be a perfect landing spot for the quarterback because they played in a quiet Midwestern market and seemed Super Bowl-ready. Reich had a strong relationship from Philadelphia with Wentz. Instead, the franchise couldn't wait to unload him. That makes two in a row.

Washington will be Wentz's last chance to rescue his career as a starting NFL quarterback. If he misses this time, it will be his third strike. And you know what that means.

MORE FROM MIKE MCFEELY
SB 2301, supported by (GASP!) Democrats, is the best solution on the table in Bismarck
Freshmen can play in up to three games and not lose a year of eligibility, similar to Division I rule passed five years ago
FARGO — Watching Damari Wheeler-Thomas bounce around the North Dakota State basketball practice court this week — cutting, jump-stopping, leaping, sprinting — you have to appreciate modern medical technology. Six months ago he had a metal rod inserted in his left leg. Today he's a key piece of the Bison's fortunes.
Signed in June 2022 but not announced, new deal inks coach through 2026-27 season
A couple of bills introduced quietly would help feed students in public schools

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.
What To Read Next
Area recreation scores and schedules.
Regional and local scores and schedules.
NDSU won six of the final seven matches to down the Bears on Saturday.
The Black Hawks trailed by two goals with just over six minutes left to play but rallied and upended Fargo in overtime on Saturday.