Eagles' Trent Edwards serves as mentor to Nick Foles

Eagles quarterbacks Trent Edwards (left) and Nick Foles have worked together. "By helping him, I feel like I'm becoming a better football player," Edwards says, "and that helps me if I need to get in there." YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Eagles quarterbacks Trent Edwards (left) and Nick Foles have worked together. "By helping him, I feel like I'm becoming a better football player," Edwards says, "and that helps me if I need to get in there." YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Posted: December 14, 2012

Trent Edwards was once Nick Foles.

It was 2007, and Edwards - like Foles - was a rookie third-round draft pick, with the Buffalo Bills. After starting quarterback J.P. Losman was injured against the Patriots in the third game of the season, Edwards - like Foles - took over for the veteran.

And - like Foles - Edwards made his first NFL start the next week, against the Jets. Finally, Edwards - like Foles - played well enough to eventually unseat the veteran incumbent as the full-time starter.

Edwards went on to finish 5-4 as a rookie and opened 2008 with a 5-1 record. But, when that season collapsed, and injuries and inconsistency sullied the rest of Edwards' career with the Bills, he turned into another journeyman bouncing from team to team.

One difference between Edwards and Foles is that Edwards lacked a veteran quarterback to help him along when he was young. He lacked someone like Trent Edwards.

Now, Edwards is a veteran backup by Foles' side as the Eagles prepare for Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Edwards, who played well enough in the preseason to be an emergency option for the Eagles, views his mentorship of the 23-year-old Foles as his responsibility as long as he's on the roster.

"I knew my rookie year that I wished I had someone [there] saying this or that," Edwards said. "I've tried to implement that into our relationship right now."

After Edwards made the roster, he moved in with Foles. The quarterbacks lived together for two months, and Edwards still sends Foles text messages in the morning to make sure he's awake on time and knows the schedule.

"It's all kinds of stuff he knows already," Edwards said. "He knows right from wrong. He knows how to take care of his body. But it helps having someone constantly remind you."

Edwards' contributions are not lost on Foles or those watching. Coach Andy Reid said that Edwards is at the team's practice facility whenever Foles is there. Tight end Clay Harbor said he went to the NovaCare complex at 7:30 one night to pick up his iPad and saw Foles and Edwards in a meeting room studying film. And that was before Foles replaced the injured Michael Vick as the starter.

"We're always watching film together," Foles said. "He's quizzing me, and we're talking about different things."

During games, Edwards is always there to listen and comment when Foles heads to the sideline. Edwards, a Stanford product, was signed in part because of his understanding of the Eagles' system. He has played in Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Oakland, and he can share his experiencess - both on his rise to being the starter and the fall to journeyman - in ways a rookie can understand.

"He's a brilliant kid and very, very intelligent," Reid said of Edwards. "I just think it has been a real positive for [Foles] in terms of understanding the game, not only the game schematically but the game as a whole, with the media and all the attention and everything that comes with it."

Edwards' locker is next to Foles' in the locker room. Edwards often needs to scoot out of the way when Foles conducts interviews. Most of the questions Edwards answers these days are about Foles.

Since Edwards has been that quarterback in the spotlight, he understands the fleeting nature of the job, and he said he takes pride in Foles' progress. Edwards joked that he felt like a "proud father" when Foles led last Sunday's game-winning drive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Foles' first NFL victory.

"To have it come together in one moment right there, where it's the last play of the game. He came to the sideline, calls the play, and then executes that play, and we walk off the field with a win," Edwards said. "You just feel happy, proud."

After they arrived in Philadelphia from Tampa, Edwards and Foles returned to the NovaCare complex. They took intravenous fluids and sat in the cold tub because Edwards emphasized to Foles the physical challenge of returning to play just four days later.

As for the future, Foles would rather remain a starting quarterback and not wind up mentoring a fellow third-round pick.

"The way I've always approached it is [that] he's my teammate," Edwards said. "He's my friend. We play the same position, I've been in his shoes before. By helping him, I feel like I'm becoming a better football player, and that helps me if I need to get in there."


Contact Zach Berman

at zberman@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

|
|
|
|
|