INDIANAPOLIS – How would Carson Wentz be as a teammate?
It was a question upon his departure from Philadelphia and arrival to Indianapolis.
Was that part of Wentz’s tenure in Philly a bit overblown?
That seems to be the case, with several high-profile former teammates vouching that Wentz was not a ‘bad’ teammate.
Yes, Wentz’s background and interests don’t reach every corner of the locker room, but he is not a malicious person alienating himself from guys.
Still, Wentz knew some of the chatter about him upon his exit to Philadelphia.
With that, he’s gone above and beyond in his early honeymoon period with the Colts.
So far, so good.
“He’s so dialed in. It’s like he’s on a mission,” Michael Pittman, who first got together with Wentz out in California this offseason, says. “He’s so focused on whatever it is, proving himself, winning a Super Bowl, whatever it is, he’s lasered in.
“I have no idea what everyone else (was) talking about. I just see a team guy. He’s always ready to help and just do whatever it takes. He’s been a great guy, a great teammate.”
Nyheim Hines’ first observation of Wentz was his modesty, despite everything that comes with playing quarterback, and making that type of money.
“Honestly, just his humility,” Hines says of the thing that has stood out the most about Wentz. “For him to be who he is and all that, he came in just like everybody else. He’s an MVP caliber guy and he’s looking to get back to that. Just his understanding of the offense and trying to personally get to know everybody. He comes in and asks about my family, my sister and things like that.
“As a new guy, it’s pretty cool. It shows that he’s caring and trying to take care of us.”
Wentz definitely took advantage of the springtime, traveling to different parts of the country to meet some teammates.
Now that his wife, daughter and he are settled into their new home in the Indy area, those relationships are a bit easier to build.
That allowed for the Wentz crew to head over to the Buckner household and have dinner with DeForest, his wife and their young son.
“Getting to know guys is always a big part of the camaraderie and the chemistry in the locker room,” Wentz says. “And not just the surface level ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ ‘Doing great.’ Which, that always happens, but just trying to understand who they are as people, family, wife, kids – all of those things that we can just bond and connect on a different level because then when we’re out there on Sundays, we have a deeper relationship and we just really trust each other and love each other that much more.
“I enjoy getting to know guys and hearing their stories, their backgrounds, all of those things, especially this time of year. The relationships I’ve made through football through my whole life are lifelong friendships and relationships and many of those guys are in this locker room now and I look forward to continuing to build those relationships both on and off the field.”
Of course as Wentz accurately points out, the true test of him as a teammate, and player, will be on Sunday’s.
And while Wentz has several things to clean up in his own game, the leadership aspect is something the Colts will be counting on him for.
“The leadership of the quarterback is critically important,” Reich says. “We have a locker room full of really strong leaders, I mean really strong leaders in this locker room. In his own unique way, the quarterback has to be felt and Carson has already done that. The two weeks (in the spring), the weeks of meetings we’ve had on Zoom, I know, and I can feel that Carson has made his presence known on this team and this team has embraced his leadership.
“I think we’re all looking forward to getting to training camp and getting out on the field and playing some preseason games and getting to the regular season. But he’s done an excellent job and anyone who has been around Carson knows that just as physically, how this guy works. He’s just a relentless, physical worker and I think everyone sees that.”