Nick Foles credits former Eagles coach Chip Kelly for turning him into “the player I am today.”
The hero of Super Bowl LII said thank you to Kelly, among others, in a farewell letter published on The Players Tribune on Wednesday, two days after news broke that he will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent for four years and $88 million.
Foles said Kelly’s trading him away gave him a challenge that eventually helped him become the player who stepped off the bench in place of injured Carson Wentz.
After he returned to Philadelphia in 2017, Foles led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title. And in the last year, he calls it his “truest privilege” to hear the stories Birds fans tell of how much the title meant to them.
“Learning about how, for most people, rooting for the Eagles is more than a decision — it’s a birthright.”
Foles joined the Eagles family when he was drafted in 2012 — “the first time I signed with the Eagles, they picked me," he said — and despite seeing a lot of interest from then-coach Andy Reid, he still thought he wouldn’t get picked.
In 2015, Foles was shipped to St. Louis. In 2016, the Eagles drafted Wentz. And in 2017, Foles, a free agent, had a decision to make: Where would his career take him next?
The quarterback writes that he had some “interesting offers” but there was something more important than football that helped him make his choice.
He made his choice with his daughter in mind — his wife, Tori, was pregnant with baby Lily.
“I realized that this was much more than an X’s-and-O’s decision," he wrote. "It was a decision about what city our daughter was going to spend her first years in, and have her first memories in, and call her hometown.”
Foles knew what he wanted that hometown to be.
"And there’s just something about it ... but my heart said Philly.
“I’m pretty sure a piece of it always will.”
Foles gave his thanks for Reid, Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman and all the people involved with the Eagles -- trainers, security, janitors, chefs, massage therapists. He thanked his teammates, saying he’ll cherish the moments.
And he thanked the fans and the city, calling a chance to play for the Eagles “an honor.”
"Philadelphia, thank you for welcoming me into yours.
“You will forever be a part of mine.”