Eagles’ Foles goes from nearly retiring to Super Bowl debut

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MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Not long ago Nick Foles contemplated retiring from the NFL after losing his passion for football but now the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is flying high ahead of his first Super Bowl.

The 29-year-old Foles had such a difficult and unfulfilling 2015 season with the St. Louis Rams that he seriously wondered whether there was any reason to keep playing in the league.

“Once I was a free agent it was just an opportunity to sit there and in my heart at the time I was probably going to step away from the game,” Foles told reporters on Tuesday.

“But I also knew just being in that situation that I needed to take a few days just to let all the emotions settle.”

Taking some time before making his decision has paid off as Foles will now lead his Eagles into Sunday’s Super Bowl clash against the New England Patriots in Minneapolis.

Foles was drafted by Philadelphia in 2012 and tabbed as the team’s quarterback of the future but an inconsistent rookie year meant he started the 2013 season as Michael Vick’s backup.

But injuries to Vick gave Foles another shot, only this time he did not let it go to waste and proved to be the driving force behind the Eagles’ second-half surge to the playoffs.

The Eagles, however, decided to end the Foles experiment in 2015 when they traded him to St. Louis, which put in motion what nearly spelled the end of his career.

FORGETTABLE CAMPAIGN

Foles played one forgettable campaign with the Rams before the disgruntled signal caller skipped offseason workouts after the team selected quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall draft pick.

He eventually asked to be released and decided to go on a fly-fishing camping trip with his brother-in-law, discussed options with his wife and, when he still did not have a clear decision of what to do, turned to prayer.

“At that point there were several teams that called but the only one I was going to play for was Kansas City because of coach (Andy) Reid being there,” Foles said of his former Eagles coach.

”He’s a man that has always believed in me, no matter what has gone on in my career. He drafted me.

“I knew that if I went and played with him I would give it one more shot that he could find the joy. If I had joy in there he could bring it back out and he sure did.”

Foles filled in admirably as the Chiefs backup and while his stay there lasted only one season he said it was a big reason why he is where he is today.

“Being in Kansas City last year was one of the very special years of my football career,” said Foles.

“Very grateful for the opportunity that he (Reid) gave me and the belief he’s always shown me. I am sitting here today and I might not be here if I didn’t have coach Reid right there so I am glad he took me in.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Ken Ferris