The report that Nick Foles told the Eagles he didn't want to leave for Cleveland, after the Browns offered the 35th overall pick in the draft for him back in March, only burnished the legend of the Super Bowl MVP for Eagles fans.
But Foles said Tuesday that it wasn't true, that he was never asked about any potential trade. When the NFL Network report surfaced last week, two sources close to Foles denied any knowledge of such a thing. So, did the offer really happen? And if it did, was it seriously considered? No way to know for sure.
What we do know for sure is that Foles isn't much for legend-burnishing. There are players who step in for injured starters and proclaim that they are eager to see the starter return. Most of the time they are not entirely sincere. Foles actually seems to mean it.
"I haven't turned down anything. We haven't talked about anything. That wasn't a true statement at all," Foles told reporters gathered around his NovaCare locker stall after Tuesday's OTA session. "I'm excited to be here. … I'm not the GM of the team. I have a great relationship with Howie [Roseman] to where if something did happen, we could have a discussion. But at the end of the day, he gets to decide. I'm just a player. But I'm a grateful player, for being here."
Unlike when he stepped in for franchise quarterback Carson Wentz last December, in the wake of Wentz's knee injury, Foles takes the field every day now alongside Wentz, who looks more and more like a guy who can meet his stated goal of being ready for the Sept. 6 season opener against Atlanta. Foles said he doesn't spend any time wondering which of them will begin the Eagles' defense of their Super Bowl LII title.
"We're handling it like men in the locker room. At the end of the day, we want the team to be successful," said Foles. "We have too much stuff going on right now. We have too much work ahead of us … fundamental work, route work, new players, getting to know them, teaching them the offense.
"We have so much going on, and whoever plays Week 1, the whole team's going to be behind them, the whole quarterback room's going to be behind them. That's the great part of this team, that's the big reason this team won the Super Bowl last year."
It was "last year" by NFL season-counting standards, less than four months ago on the Gregorian calendar. Wentz is less than six months removed from surgery.
"Carson, he looks great. You know Carson Wentz, he's always continuing to improve," Foles said. "He's excelling every single day, he's pushing. So I'm excited. You've seen him out there throwing, moving around – he's going to take it one step at a time, and I'll let him answer anything else. But from what I've seen, he looks great."
Experiencing this offseason as the Super Bowl MVP has been "definitely different," said Foles, who didn't excite much notice when he returned to the Eagles a year ago following stints in St. Louis and Kansas City that had left him drifting farther and farther from consideration as an NFL starter. "But it's been enjoyable. There's times when you have to slow down a little bit because your body can only handle so much, but so far, so good."
Part of that offseason has been working with a co-author on "Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure, and Overcoming the Odds," scheduled for a June 26 release. Foles said he and his wife, Tori, "sorta were hesitant, because so much stuff was going on," when they were approached with the idea of a book.
"You can make a lot of money doing a book, and I didn't want to do that, [from] sharing the story about what God's done in my life," Foles said. "The reason we decided to do it was, we're giving away 100 percent of what we get personally to charities, churches, wherever it may be where our hearts felt led. That made the project come to life."
It doesn't seem to bother Foles that he definitely was available, for the right price, back before the draft, whether or not Cleveland actually made the high-second-round pick offer, whether the Eagles considered or would have considered that offer. Of course, he still is available for the right price, should a 2016 Sam Bradfordesque scenario pop up.
"Howie said what he wanted for me," Foles said. "And I just said if it ever comes to a point where you want to have a discussion, if there was something he was interested in, we would sit down and talk about it. But that never came to be. And I'm here and I'm excited to be here."
Roseman showed his appreciation for the most amazing backup QB playoff run in the history of the sport by reworking Foles' contract, giving him what amounted to a Super Bowl MVP bonus, and structuring this season's compensation so that if Foles ends up starting all year somehow, he can make more than $20 million. And then he can easily buy out an option for 2019 and become an unrestricted free agent.