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Foles excited about chance to battle for QB job

New Bears QB Nick Foles
New Bears QB Nick Foles

Since new Bears quarterback Nick Foles entered the NFL in 2012 as a third-round pick with the Eagles, he's experienced extreme highs and lows.

In the last three years alone, Foles has won a Super Bowl championship and been named the game's MVP, signed a lucrative free-agent contract, suffered a serious injury and been benched in favor of a rookie.

The ups and downs have given Foles a great appreciation for the chance he now has to battle incumbent Mitchell Trubisky in what has been described as "an open competition" for the Bears' starting quarterback position.

"I'm excited for this opportunity," Foles said Friday during a conference call with the media. "Going through my career, it's been an interesting curve. It's been all over the place, which has honestly allowed me to go through a lot of different things and gain a lot of wisdom from it.

"But the opportunity to be a full-time starter and make it through a season and do those things is something I think any player would love to do in the right situation. So this opportunity to have that, I'm excited for it, I really am."

Shortly after being acquired by the Bears in a trade with the Jaguars, Foles called Trubisky to introduce himself and tell him that he's excited to work with him and be his teammate.

"Mitch has been there for several years and knows this offense really well, the Chicago version," Foles said. "But I'll be competing and it'll be a healthy competition. Mitch and I have already talked and we wanted to start out on the right foot because ultimately it's about the Chicago Bears and it's not about the egos of the quarterbacks.

"The quarterback competition becomes such a big thing in the NFL, which it is. The quarterback is an important position. But ultimately we have to do what's best for the Chicago Bears. So having that healthy quarterbacks room will be a big part of that.

"Him and I were able to start out on the right foot with our discussions. And ultimately it's going in there and doing our jobs and supporting each other and the guy who can lead the team will lead the team, no matter who that is. If it's Mitch, I'm going to be there to support Mitch. And if it's me, I know that Mitch will be there to support me."

The highs and lows that Foles has experienced began in 2013 when he enjoyed a breakout second season, passing for 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions in leading the Eagles to the NFC East title. But he was traded to the Rams in 2015 and had such a forgettable year that he lost his love for the game and contemplated retirement.

Foles ultimately decided to keep playing, first signing with the Chiefs in 2016 before rejoining the Eagles in 2017. When Philadelphia starter Carson Wentz sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 14, Foles stepped in and helped lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship.

In three playoff wins, Foles threw for 971 yards and six touchdowns with a 115.7 passer rating. He earned MVP honors in Super Bowl LII after leading the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots by passing for 373 yards and three TDs with a 106.1 rating and catching a 1-yard touchdown pass from current Bears tight end Trey Burton on a trick play dubbed the "Philly Special."

Foles replaced an injured Wentz again in 2018, leading the Eagles to a wild-card playoff win over the Bears at Soldier Field. He then signed a lucrative contract with the Jaguars in 2019 but broke his left clavicle in the first quarter of the season opener. Foles ultimately returned to start three games but was benched in favor of rookie Gardner Minshew.

Now that he's joined the Bears, Foles will adapt to a new team. But he's already familiar with coach Matt Nagy and his offense, having worked with Nagy in Philadelphia in 2012 and Kansas City in 2016.

"I have a foundation from when I was in Kansas City and we ran a different version in Philadelphia that was different than this," Foles said. "But that's the fun part. You get to bring that information of what we did in Philly to Chicago and try to fine-tune it and develop it and mix it into the Bears offense DNA. 

"I would say there is a strong infrastructure there with the knowledge of it. It's just going to be talking to coach Nagy about his coaching points and being on the same page and understanding how he wants it run. He knows me. We've known each other since 2012. Though we've never been in a position like this where he's the one calling plays as the head coach. That's unique.

"It's nice to have that foundation. But it's by no means starting over with no knowledge of the offense. So I'm definitely starting out on my two feet and I'm excited to learn more about what they're doing. There might be a few different terminologies and different run game and stuff like that. But I'll be able to understand it decently well hopefully to begin with."