INDIANAPOLIS — The bond between Colts coach Frank Reich and quarterback Carson Wentz will be traced to a three-minute automobile journey throughout the North Dakota State campus to the soccer facility.
It was 2016 and Wentz was anticipated to be one of many high picks within the draft. Reich, then offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, wished to sneak in a number of further minutes along with his future quarterback — and keep away from being cramped within the rental automobile along with his Eagles co-workers.
In going over a few of the issues mentioned within the workforce’s assembly with Wentz, Reich advised the quarterback he revered how he mentioned his religion with out overdoing it or forcing it on individuals.
“That’s once I stated to him it reminds [me] of a verse, 1 Peter 3:15, ‘However in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. All the time be ready to present a solution to everybody who asks you to present the explanation for the hope that you’ve,’” Reich recalled.
That’s when it began.
“As I’m quoting it, he’s ending it with me after which he simply will get a giant smile on his face,” Reich continued.
Wentz handed Reich his cellphone, pressed the button on it and advised him to have a look at his screensaver. The quarterback had the precise Bible verse on it.
What are the percentages? There’s most likely a greater probability of successful the lottery, contemplating the infinite variety of Bible verses.
“We each type of checked out one another with the identical facial features,” Reich stated. “That was a second. A whole lot of very cool Bible verses which can be very useful and we’re in a three-minute automobile journey collectively and I occurred to select a verse and it’s the very same verse he had on his cellphone. You simply knew.”
Not a lot has modified between the coach and quarterback exterior of being on completely different groups over the previous three seasons. Reich and Wentz are again collectively after the Colts acquired the quarterback from Philadelphia for a third-round choose in April’s draft and a conditional 2023 second-round choose. The conversations about religion nonetheless happen.
Generally talks about their Christian beliefs will occur whereas the 2 are sitting within the coach’s workplace, after one in every of their conferences and even whereas they’re engaged on their chipping recreation on the par-3 course that sits on the property of the Colts’ complicated.
“Within the time Carson has been right here it has occurred a pair occasions every week,” Reich stated. “It’s as a result of we’re assembly loads. We’re in right here speaking, we end the assembly after which speaking about what’s occurring at dwelling and get to speaking and one thing comes up. It’s not onerous when the 2 of us aren’t in our soccer assembly mode. Very naturally going to come back up.”
The top coach-quarterback relationship is an important bond to most groups’ success. The bond is even tighter when the pinnacle coach is a former NFL quarterback like Reich, as a result of he’s in a position to see the sport by means of the identical prism as his starter. Once you add of their common-faith beliefs, the bond is tough to interrupt.
“Regardless of wins, losses, all that stuff — we each know what’s the principle factor in our life and we all know what our priorities and values are and the place we stand on that,” Wentz stated. “We at all times have that connection. That’s simply how it’s, even with different believers. You’re at all times difficult and inspiring one another, sharing issues.”
Reich’s Christian religion has at all times been there. His dedication to it’s so robust, he was president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina and pastor of a Presbyterian church following his retirement from his 13-year NFL enjoying profession.
Wentz has a basis referred to as Viewers of One whose mission assertion is uplifting people and communities all over the world by demonstrating God’s love for His individuals. The quarterback has the AO1 acronym tattooed on his proper wrist.
“We have now three completely different ministries,” Wentz stated. “All three of them are Christ-centered. We’re going to tangibly provide one thing, an expertise or alternative or meal, however we’re additionally going to supply Jesus, provide hope to all people and share the gospel and all these issues. It’s tremendous cool. It’s what I’m obsessed with, it’s what’s close to and pricey to my coronary heart.”
Wentz and Reich needed to lean fairly onerous on their religion late within the 2017 season.
Wentz, in his second season, was placing up MVP-caliber numbers when he suffered a season-ending knee damage in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14. The damage was not solely bodily taxing however mentally as nicely, as Nick Foles stepped in for Wentz and helped lead Philadelphia to the Tremendous Bowl whereas the franchise quarterback may solely sit on the sidelines and cheer.
Wentz may have gone right into a cocoon throughout that point. As a substitute, he and Reich talked about God quite a few occasions after the damage and all through his grueling rehabilitation. Being the forgotten participant due to an damage throughout a Tremendous Bowl run can take a toll.
“It gave Carson the attitude that he may genuinely have fun the success whereas nonetheless going by means of a troublesome journey,” Reich stated. “I feel these have been discussions we had as Christian males; we will perceive that God works in mysterious methods.
“So how can I develop and mature by means of this and nonetheless be supportive to my teammates? I do know all people ought to suppose like that and desires to suppose like that. However I feel from a Christian religion perspective, there’s some deep roots that assist guys, that assist us put that into the right context and perspective to thrive by means of these troublesome occasions.”
Reich’s relationship with Wentz provides to the various robust bonds he has with gamers. Reich labored carefully with linebacker Darius Leonard, guard Quenton Nelson and tight finish Jack Doyle on social influence committees. The coach talks often with gamers about their households, particularly receiver T.Y. Hilton and cornerback Kenny Moore II.
That’s simply Reich’s persona, as a result of he is aware of life is about greater than soccer.
“Frank’s skill to narrate with our complete locker room and every participant individually is de facto particular,” Colts common supervisor Chris Ballard stated. “He is ready to do it as a result of he’s genuine and actual every day. I feel he treats them precisely the way in which he needs to be handled — with honesty and respect. He performed 13 years on this league and I feel that have mixed along with his values are what make him a very particular communicator.”
Wentz is within the strategy of doing the identical, which is important after there have been studies of him not being an excellent teammate whereas in Philadelphia. He’s hung out attending to know his Colts teammates on and off the sphere. Wentz plans to carry exercises, which isn’t irregular, in some unspecified time in the future previous to the beginning of coaching camp.
“I don’t know what all people else is speaking about. I see a workforce man,” receiver Michael Pittman Jr. stated. “He’s at all times there, simply prepared to assist and simply do no matter it takes. He’s been an awesome man, been an awesome teammate. So, that’s just about all I’ve to say about that. He’s been nice to date.”
The 2023 season will focus on whether or not Reich’s earlier relationship with Wentz will assist the quarterback regain his pre-injury confidence and productiveness. However within the eyes of the coach, Wentz’s relationship along with his teammates is much more necessary.
“We’ve maintained an excellent friendship prior to now three years,” Reich stated. “Not that we talked loads. Talked some within the offseason. If he had an excellent or dangerous recreation, I’d textual content one thing. I feel there’s a strong basis due to the previous historical past. There’s nice relationships in all places. I by no means wish to single out that relationship and say that’s crucial on the workforce. An important one is Carson’s along with his teammates. That may assist us go the place we wish to go as nicely.”
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