Long before he was suiting up for the Washington Commanders, Carson Wentz was leading the NDSU Bison to championships with his leadership, grit and will to win.
By Zach Selby
Sept. 06, 2022
For the first time in more than two years, the auditorium at the Washington Commanders' home facility was packed with reporters and employees anxious to get the first look at the organization's future.
The last time there were that many people in the room was 2020 -- a few months before working from home was a foreign concept to most and the word "zoom" hadn't yet entered our cultural lexicon -- when Ron Rivera first laid out his plan to turn Washington, which hasn't had a winning record since 2016, back into a playoff contender.
It seemed fitting that the next time reporters were in the room was for the team to unveil the next, and most important, part of that plan.
Carson Wentz, freshly traded from the Indianapolis Colts, had an ear-to-ear smile on his face as he was introduced by Rivera. As he walked up to the podium wearing a burgundy shirt and a yellow jacket, he at least looked the part of being the Commanders' next signal-caller.
"Well, I had the jacket," Wentz said. "I didn't know it would come in handy here. It was NDSU [North Dakota State University] colors and my wife did a good job of finding me this shirt that matched. So yeah, that's what went into it. Feel good in it, too."
It's fortuitous that Wentz dug out that jacket for the next phase of his career, but it's one corner of his past that many Burgundy & Gold fans aren't as well-versed. Washington fans have certainly witnessed plenty of Wentz over the years. They got a good look at what Wentz could be during his five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles after being the 2016 No. 2 overall pick.
“I put my best foot forward and let the chips fall where they may. That's the mindset I've had ever since I was in college playing ball and got to the league, so that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna put my head down, work, build relationships and hopefully look up at the end of the year and be happy with the result.” Carson Wentz
But before he was holding up a midnight green jersey in Chicago, he was one of the most recognizable faces associated with NDSU football.
Wentz, who first picked up a football in Bismarck, North Dakota, was only the starter for two seasons with the Bison, but he did plenty to leave his mark on the program: two national championships; All-America honors from several outlets; single-season records in passing attempts, completions, yards and total offense per game; and not to mention multiple academic accolades.
Wentz plans to bring that talent with him to Washington, which is banking on him being the right quarterback to help it reach the postseason for the second time in three seasons. But Wentz is coming with more than a bunch of old records and a flashy gold jacket; he's bringing steadfast leadership as well as a gritty desire to win and to help his teammates succeed.
Wentz is known for those traits as well, and they were first developed as a kid trying to make a name for himself at NDSU.
"I put my best foot forward and let the chips fall where they may," Wentz said. "That's the mindset I've had ever since I was in college playing ball and got to the league, so that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna put my head down, work, build relationships and hopefully look up at the end of the year and be happy with the result."