Eagles' Carson Wentz takes big step forward in rehab from knee injury

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Friday, July 27, 2018

PHILADELPHIA --Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz took another significant step forward in his rehab Thursday, participating in full-team non-contact drills on the first day of training camp.

Wentz was cleared for the activity on Wednesday when the players reported to camp and had their physicals.

"That was kind of the plan that we put in place throughout the summer, just build to that," he said. "I was excited just to be out there today and run around with the guys."

Wentz, recovering from a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee suffered against the Los Angeles Rams in December, participated in portions of practice during the spring and took part in 7-on-7s by minicamp. He sat out the team drills, though, where linemen simulate a rush and the environment is less controlled. At one point Thursday during 11-on-11s, he evaded a pass-rusher off the right edge and flicked a completion to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert along the right sideline.

"It was the first time out there with guys kind of all around me. But you do some things in rehab to kind of get used to that," Wentz said. "And mentally, I feel like I've been getting through it really well."

The next step for Wentz is to be cleared for contact. At that point, there will be little standing between him and game action. When that happens is to be determined.

With that hurdle not yet cleared, it was Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles taking reps with the first team, while Wentz commanded the second unit. Wentz said coach Doug Pederson has a plan in place for him to start working with the first unit as the preseason rolls along.

Foles says it doesn't really matter how he's labeled -- be it as the starting or backup quarterback.

"No one knows my label. It's sort of been that way for a long time, and I've said it before, I don't really care," Foles said. "I know that I love my teammates, I love this city, I love playing for these coaches, and whatever they need of me, I'm going to give them everything I've got. That's how I play the game.

"You don't need to come out and say, 'Hey, you're the starter,' 'You're the backup,' whatever, you're going to get me. It's not going to affect me. If that affects me, I've probably got some issues I've got to deal with. So I'm going to go out there, I'm going to sling the ball, I'm going to have trust in my teammates, I'm going to step in that huddle. I love playing with those guys. It's so much fun just stepping in that huddle, seeing their eyes, going out there and playing ball. And that's what I'm going to focus on."

Wentz continues to eye the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons for his return, but Pederson is in no hurry to make declarations in that regard.

"I'm not going to push him. He and I are married in this deal," Pederson said. "His long-term health, obviously, [is paramount]. I want him to have success in this league for a long, long time. I want to make sure it's right. And it's hard to say when that time is."