Bears quarterback Nick Foles is the ultimate team player who avoids rocking the boat and never makes it about him — you never hear him brag about his shining NFL moment when he was the MVP of the Super Bowl LII.
So just that Foles broached the subject of a possible trade to the Colts and a reunion with former Eagles assistant Frank Reich after Carson Wentz suffered a foot injury tells you everything about his tenuous situation with the Bears. And Foles didn’t just broach the subject, he embraced it.
“Listen, Frank Reich is one of my favorite [coaches], if not favorite [coach]of all-time,” Foles said in his first press conference with reporters since Week 10 of last season, when he suffered a season-ending hip/glute injury against the Vikings. “He understands me as a player. He understands me as a person.
“But I haven’t had any talks with them. I’m a Chicago Bear right now, but … he knows me. Y’all watched the 2017 season and the playoffs, where he changed the offense and built it around me, and y’all saw what happened. He understood my mentality as a player and he was able to build it around me and put me in a successful position.”
Foles is too much of a team player to have one foot out the door, but he can see the door from where he is — taking third-team snaps, with rookie Justin Fields and starter Andy Dalton ahead of him. He acknowledged having a role in trade talks already in the offseason.
“I know there’s a lot of talks out there,” Foles said. “Trust me, I hear it. I see it. But that creates clutter in my mind, because I still have to go out here and practice.”
Foles’ adventurous, tumultuous tenure with the Bears epitomizes the latest chapter in the Bears’ search for a starting quarterback. Last year, the Bears traded a 2020 fourth-round draft pick to the Jaguars for Foles to compete with Mitch Trubisky, then restructured Foles’ four-year, $88 million contract to a still hefty three-year, $24 million deal that guaranteed him $21 million.
But after rallying the Bears to victory over the Falcons after replacing Trubisky in Week 3 last season, Foles struggled behind a deteriorating offensive line and inconsistent run game before suffering the injury against the Vikings. His 80.8 passer rating in nine games and seven starts (10 touchdowns, eight interceptions) was 29th in the NFL.
The Bears signed Dalton in free agency as their No. 1 quarterback, then drafted Fields. Foles could not have been happy about that, but bit his lip when asked about it Monday.
“I had a talk in private with what was going on and that I’m not going to speak about,” Foles said. “Andy Dalton is a tremendous quarterback and he’s an even better person. He’s the leader the team needs and he’s doing a great job leading. I love being around him. We get to feed off each other, talk about different things and it’s been great watching him conduct the offense.”
Dalton returned that respect.
“With everything Nick has accomplished in this league … a lot of guys would not show up every day,” Dalton said. “And he’s been here every day with the same attitude, that he’s gonna get better as a player, as a person and as a teammate. It’s been so much fun for me to watch how he has handled everything that he’s gone through. I love having him on this team.”
Though Foles has had most of his NFL success off the bench, he’s never been a third-stringer. “This is a unique test and trial just at practice with the reps and everything,” he said. But he’s embraced the role as much as he can, and is hoping fate again moves its huge hands and puts him on the right team at the right time.
“You don’t want to go somewhere just to go somewhere,” Foles said. “You want to go somewhere where you know the people somewhat — or you know someone who knows the people that can vouch for [them], so you can succeed. I’m 32. I feel great. The version of me right now is much better than the version that played in the Super Bowl, I’ll tell you that. And I’m confident in that.
“But we haven’t had any talks right now, so I’m a Chicago Bear and I’m gonna keep slinging it with these third-stringers and we’re gonna dice ‘em up.”