By Ben Sullivan
Before Nick Foles said a word yesterday at Eagles camp in South Philly, there was a question from the audience – “I thought you didn’t do interviews?”
Foles laughed. By turning down the author of “Friday Night Lights”, Buzz Bissinger, for a Philly Mag profile last month, Foles may have generated the exact type of publicity he was trying to avoid – anything that focused solely on him, rather than the team.
Rather than shoot back at Bissinger – for an article many believe to shed a slightly negative light on the QB – Foles took the eventual follow-up question in stride, again stating his case for not being interviewed, and showing the maturity of an NFL quarterback that he was trying to show in the first place – by not being interviewed.
The assessment many believe Bissinger made in the story – that Foles will struggle to be successful as an NFL player if he continues to decline the spotlight – is maybe the only thing that got to the third-year quarterback.
“I don’t agree with it,” Foles said. “I think as a quarterback and a leader, it’s not necessarily what you do in the limelight. Obviously, you want guys handling themselves in an appropriate manner for the organization and the team, but you need to be who you are. If you’re a guy who does that and can be a leader and naturally that’s what you want to do, awesome.
“If I were to go and do that, it’s out of my norm. I’m a laid-back Texas boy. I love my family, love being with them and that’s what I stick to. I love the game of football, love getting better. My teammates know me and I show them who I am in the locker room and don’t change on the field.
“I’m the same guy everywhere they see me.”
Bissinger’s article wasn’t all negative, but there were some stingers. Early on, after mentioning being rejected for the interview, Bissinger says that Foles has emerged as a “one-dimensional choirboy caricature reflective of a player and a team and a league terrified of individuality”.
A little harsh – at least Foles thinks so.
“I just always believe that you need to be who you are,” he said. “I just really didn’t want to put that much time on me and not be about the team. I can’t go out there by myself and win games. I have great teammates and great coaches to go on the field of battle with and have to lean on those guys as they lean on me.
“I wasn’t comfortable with it. It’s always about the team.”