Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is back.
He was a full participant in Tuesday’s first organized team activity (OTA) workout after missing part of last season with a stress fracture in his back.
“I feel great, and as you guys saw,” Wentz told the Wilmington News Journal on Tuesday. “I’m out there doing team drills, doing all that stuff, which seemed like it was a while ago for me. I feel really good going forward, and I’m obviously cleared and ready to roll.”
Wentz missed the last five regular-season games and both playoff contests last season.
It marked the second straight year he was sidelined with an injury. In 2017, he suffered two torn ligaments in his left knee. Nick Foles took over and led the team to a victory in Super Bowl LII, then guided them to a playoff win over Chicago last season.
He was not wearing the knee brace he used last season during Tuesday’s workout, according to video shown on WPVI-Channel 6 and displayed impressive mobility during drills.
“Ultimately, it was my decision (to not wear the brace),” Wentz told Philly.com on Tuesday. “But, talking through it with everybody, we just felt it was best going forward. Knee felt good, feels strong, and I feel better without it.”
With Foles now in Jacksonville, the Eagles’ No. 2 job will be a duel among Nate Sudfeld, newcomer Cody Kessler and perhaps rookie Clayton Thorson, a fifth-round draft pick from Northwestern University.
Ironically, Kessler started four games for the Jaguars last season. According to NJ.com, he spoke with Foles upon being released earlier this month and then signing with the Eagles.
“It was a 20-30 minute phone call,” Kessler said. “He told me about some of the stuff he went through in his past experiences. ... He said, ‘There’s going to be brighter times ahead, you’ve got to believe that, and you’ve got to stick to that.’
“He spoke so highly of Philadelphia, and then (the Eagles) offered me an opportunity. Everything just lined up perfectly.”
The Eagles’ lineup is very much a work in progress.
Wentz will have a plethora of talent around him. New wide receivers DeSean Jackson and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside join Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, plus tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, and running backs Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood and rookie Miles Sanders.
It helps that Wentz has been fully cleared to practice after being limited last year during the preseason workouts.
“I love any time we can get on the field,” Wentz said told the team’s website Tuesday. “Start building that chemistry, start talking through things with guys so they see it how I see it, and vice versa. Anytime we can get out there, I love it.
“Missing some of that time last year was a bummer. I wouldn’t say it’s the end-all, be-all, but it definitely is helpful to be out there, especially this year, with a couple new faces in there. I think you’ll see dividends come the fall.”
Notes: Jeffery was among four veterans who missed Tuesday’s OTAs for non-injury-related reasons, along with safety Malcolm Jenkins, and tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. Jenkins is reportedly seeking to renegotiate his contract.
The Eagles are expected to offer Wentz a new contract at some point during the preseason, but Wentz declined to address the issue Tuesday.