Nick Foles read Buzz Bissinger’s piece for Philly Mag. Some of it, anyway. The rest he picked up in bits and pieces through Twitter and word of mouth.
Addressing the media on the front lawn of the NovaCare Complex as the team reported for training camp Friday, he was asked about Bissinger’s assertion that he needed an infusion of strut in his demeanor and must step fully into the spotlight in order to become the quarterback this team needs him to be.
"I don't agree with it," said Foles, "because I think a quarterback and a leader, it's not necessarily what you do in the limelight -- obviously handling yourself in the appropriate manner is very important for the organization and for your teammates -- but I always believed that you need to be who you are. If you're a guy who loves to be at everything and do that and you can be a great player and a great leader as well, that's awesome because that's naturally what you're great at, that's naturally what you want to do.
"If I were to go and do all of that, that's sort of out of my norm. I've always been more of a laid back Texas boy, I love my family and being with my family, and that's what I stick to. I love the game of football, I love getting better. My teammates know me because I show them who I am in the locker room and then I don't change when I get on the field, I'm the same guy everywhere they see me. It's not like anything changes."
Foles did not participate in the article, explaining that he "just didn't want to put that much time on me" when the focus should be on the team in his view.
The lens is naturally drawn to the quarterback in this league, of course, and Foles is the signal-caller in one of the top markets in football. With that comes a lot of attention. He's entering a different world in that respect. Last year Michael Vick was there to share the stage. This year it's all No. 9.
"If I was worried about every single article out there, I wouldn't be able to play the game of football," said Foles. "It goes back to zoning it out. When I play a game, I zone out everything and just focus on the play. When I come up here I don't worry about what people are saying because everybody is going to have their own opinion."
The players have been off for over a month and many were seeing each other for the first time in weeks as they checked in Friday afternoon. Foles was the first to speak to the media. Jeremy Maclin followed. As the quarterback gave way to the receiver, he greeted him with a hug before heading inside.
"I'm so excited. I didn't even sleep last night," said Foles. "I couldn't wait to get up this morning and get everything going. The drive here you just sort of reminisce on everything last year and the offseason. It's actually here. I know all of us are giddy, we're all seeing each other in the locker room. It's been a month. We're all ready to go."