Foles' success comes from heroes: Mom and Dad

Foles' success comes from heroes: Mom and Dad

Nick Foles looking to improve on impressive season

July 20, 2014, 7:00 am
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In leading the Eagles to an NFC East title, Nick Foles posted an NFL-record ratio of 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. (AP)

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Both of them just, what they came from and how their outlook on life is is amazing.
— Nick Foles talking about his parents

This is the first part of a five-part series that will run this week taking an in-depth look at the life of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

Nick Foles' dad had already tried to operate a restaurant once before, back when the family lived in Mississippi.

That restaurant failed. Closed down soon after it opened.

Foles will never forget the effect that had on his dad.

"He would talk about how next time he opened a restaurant, he wouldn't let that happen again," Foles said. "He was so determined. He just talked about working harder and making it work the next time."

The next time came a few years later, after the family had moved to Austin, and this time it was a success. Foles’ dad opened another restaurant when Nick was a kid, and 15 years later he had an empire of restaurants that he sold for … $59 million.

Lesson learned.

“I ran into a woman who worked for him when he just started out in restaurants,” Foles recalled. “She said, ‘One thing I remember about your dad is that he was the owner and everything, but he would put on his apron and go start working that job if someone didn't show up and do it right next to you, whether it was washing dishes, whatever.

“'This was a guy who owned the restaurant and he would come right next to me washing dishes, and I was probably the lowest person on the totem pole and here he was next to me.’

“So when I heard that story about my dad it really made sense how I had him as my role model and my mom as my role model my whole life. Now that I'm on this stage, the values that they've instilled in me, it’s the same thing.

“We're very fortunate to do what we do but at the same time I want to remember my core values. I've always wanted to play in the NFL because obviously I love football, but it's also an opportunity to spread the word to people and that's a bright light.”

Foles has been notoriously private about his family and just about everything other than football since the Eagles drafted him in the third round of the 2012 draft.

But earlier this summer, in an hour-long interview, Foles opened up about his family and spoke at length about his father and the impact he had on Foles’ life.

“My family has always been so important to me,” he said. “My parents always instilled the qualities of knowing where you came from, being grounded, and they're very hard-working people who didn't have anything when they grew up.

“My dad had to provide for his brother and his sisters and I knew all of the stories about them when they were younger. When we were young, what we had. I just saw what it took … hard work, and you follow your parents. My parents are both humble people, good people. I'm thankful for them.”

After replacing an injured Michael Vick, Foles went 8-2 as a starter last year with an NFL-record ratio of 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl and was selected Pro Bowl MVP before making his first opening-day start.

Foles’ teammates and coaches speak often about his work ethic, and Foles said it comes directly from his dad and his grandfather, who was a laborer in Mississippi.

"My dad’s parents were both working multiple jobs,” he said. “His dad was a truck driver. He didn't have much, and I have an older half sister -- he had a kid when he was 18, he was married and had to provide.

“Really, he's my hero. Both my parents are my heroes. It's always emotional when I talk about both of them because my mom's mom died in a car crash when she was 11. Both of them just, what they came from and how their outlook on life is is amazing.

“They're both very optimistic people. I've been able to see my dad help provide for his family both in Mississippi and … honestly, he always worked hard so I could play sports. I was always playing sports.

“My dad was a great baseball player growing up and in college. He tells me all the stories from when he played in college and I don't know how true they were, because he was my dad, but he said he was pretty good. And, he's probably got the prettiest football throw I've ever seen. He's always had a tight spiral throwing it over the top. He can't throw anymore, he's like 67 now, but probably the prettiest throw I've ever seen.

“He provided for us, my mom as well, so we could do everything we could, so I could have the opportunity to play in high school, college and now the NFL.”

So when you hear Foles’ teammates talk about his work ethic, when you hear Foles talk about how determined he is to constantly improve, when you hear his coaches talk about how he’s never content to rest on his laurels, you’ll know why.

It all started with family.

It all started with dad.

“When I was out there playing, I’d run extra sprints because I knew what my parents had done for me to get there,” he said. “I’m very thankful that the Lord instilled that in me at a young age, to where I could recognize that my parents had done this, to where, hey, I don’t need to, you know, do something crazy, [like think] I can be lazy, I need to go out there and work hard.

“Sometimes when it’s late at night, go to the high school stadium and run sprints when it’s pitch black, cause you really feel like you’re running fast when it’s pitch black, you know. You feel like someone’s behind you, so you run fast.

“The little things like that are because of their work ethic, and what they instilled, and just watching them ... showed me when I’m going to be a father, how to be for my kids ... especially at a young age, I really have to show them the qualities that my parents instilled in me.”

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