How Nick Foles chose football (with assist to LeBron)

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How Nick Foles chose football (with assist to LeBron)

This is the third installment of a five-part series that will run this week taking an in-depth look at the life of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Part I, on Foles' heroes -- his mom and dad -- ran Sunday and Part II on the women in his life, his mom and wife.

Before he was a record-setting quarterback, a Pro Bowl MVP, a starter for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, Nick Foles was just a normal kid that loved playing baseball, basketball and football.

And just about any other sport you can think of.

“I was always outside doing something,” Foles said. “When I talk to kids these days there's so many X-Boxes, so many gadgets, there's always something else. I mean we did that, but honestly, we were always outside doing something. Causing havoc, playing backyard football, riding bikes.

“When I go back to my hometown in Austin, you don't see all of that anymore because the big thing is virtual video games. They're fun, I've played them at times, but I always would have rather been out there doing something.”

Foles, like his dad, Larry, was a terrific baseball player as a kid, and he was even better at basketball. He was one of those kids who could do anything. You name the sport. He could have played college hoops at the Division 1 level, and he probably would have been pretty good at it.

Fortunately for the Eagles, Foles pursued football. He went 8-2 last year after replacing an injured Michael Vick, leading the Eagles to a 7-1 record the second half of the season and a playoff berth before going to the Pro Bowl and earning MVP honors.

But long before he settled on football, young Foles was into baseball more than anything.

“Yeah, I was a big baseball player,” he said. “In middle school I gave it up. I decided to play year-round and it was just too much for me. At that time I was doing baseball, basketball, football, karate. And my heart was in football and basketball, which it still is.”

Foles said he loved playing hoops and even made varsity in high school as a freshman.

“Basketball I love just as much as football,” he said. “It’s just that I decided to go this route and I’ve put more time into football since high school, so football’s gone better. I can still play basketball. I just never really got better. I just go out there and wing it.”

A coaching switch on the basketball staff before his junior year at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, ultimately pointed him to football.

“I had great head coaches all in high school, but my high school head coach for basketball ended up leaving after my sophomore year,” he said. “So it was just one of those things where the JV coach was my coach and I really liked him. But the coach that I had really bonded with as a freshman had left, so I was like, ‘All right.’

“It sort of messed with me a little bit. And then I don’t know, I think my junior year I had a good year of varsity football, and I was like, ‘All right, I think I can do this thing.’ And senior year I had a really good year, went to the state championship.

“I think I committed to Arizona State after my junior year, so at that point I came to the realization that I looked at LeBron James and was like, ‘I don’t think I can do that. But I think I can throw a football.’

“So I had to keep it real with myself. I knew I could play college basketball and hopefully be a good player. But if I wanted to go on to the next level, it would have had to have been a miracle.”

Point guard ... quarterback ... Long before the Eagles drafted Foles, he knew he wanted to be the guy running the offense.

No matter what sport.

“I really wanted to have the ball in my hands,” he said. “My mom gave the picture to some news site where they put it up, and the picture’s everywhere, but the second day [after] I was born, my dad put a football in my hand.

“So I guess it was just sort of writing on the wall then through all the ups and downs. I just always liked playing quarterback.

“When I played basketball, the last-second shot, my team always wanted to get me the ball. The coach knew I wanted it, but the team, we would draw up a play so I would shoot it. And I just liked having my hands on the ball when it was crunch time and I had to make a decision.

“Ever since I started playing football I wanted to be a quarterback. I was a quarterback. My first year of flag football I actually sat the bench and didn’t play so that really was tough. But then after that I really never let it go.”

Part I: Foles' success comes from heroes: Mom and Dad

Part II: Women in Nick Foles' life keep him humble

Jeff Lurie: Condition of Roseman's promotion was to solidify personnel department

Jeff Lurie: Condition of Roseman's promotion was to solidify personnel department

PHOENIX -- Joe Douglas is a big, imposing man. 

As he's walked around lavish greenery at the Biltmore Hotel in Arizona at the annual league meetings this week, he's towered over most of the other NFL executives, including his boss, Howie Roseman.

Douglas is large in physical stature. His role within the Eagles organization seems to match.

"The hiring of Joe Douglas, I thought, was the pivotal moment of the last year," Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said on Tuesday night, speaking for the first time in over a year. 

Douglas was hired in May to head up the Eagles' personnel department, the result of a months-long search administered by Lurie, Roseman and senior advisor Tom Donahoe. 

Last year, when Lurie gave Roseman the power as the overseer of the entire football operations department, the new job came with one condition: He had to put together a top personnel department. 

That started with hiring Douglas. 

"One of the main things Howie and I discussed when he was going to be in the football operations role was he had to have a top-notch player personnel department," Lurie said. "Or we were going to find somebody that could find a great player personnel department. That was his responsibility."

To fulfill that request, Roseman went out and brought Douglas, who cut his teeth for years under greatly respected general manager Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. Douglas brought with him Andy Weidl, who is now his second in command. 

While Lurie said he gets plenty of congratulations from general managers around the league about drafting Carson Wentz, he said he gets more about luring Douglas to Philly. And this offseason, the Eagles have seemingly made a concerted effort to put Douglas in the limelight. He sat on the stage dwarfing Roseman at a press conference earlier in March and has been plenty visible this week in Phoenix. 

Speaking for the first time since the Eagles were able to move up and draft Wentz at No. 2 last season, Lurie was effusive in his praise of Roseman. He marveled that Roseman was not only able to move up to draft Wentz, but also that he put together a contract for Sam Bradford that allowed him to be traded and then pulled off a move to get a first-round pick for him. 

But that part of the job has never been a knock on Roseman. 

For years, Roseman has shown himself to be an aggressive general manager and incredibly adept in all salary cap matters. But the big question about Roseman has been about his talent evaluation. Together, with Douglas, the two could potentially combine to be a complete general manager, capable of every aspect of the job. And not just capable, but at the top of the class. 

That’s the plan anyway. 

"The draft is going to be really built by Joe and the final decision will be made by Howie," he said. "But these guys are unbelievably collaborative. I haven’t seen anything like this. We have such trust in Joe that basically when that board's there, unless there's something extraordinary happens, it's going to be set by Joe and then we'll just make the final decision in case of anything. But that’s a great system, I think, and Doug will be very involved. The coaches will be very involved as usual, but there's obvious clarity on the decision-making."

This offseason, the Eagles have been publicly honest about the state of the franchise and Lurie didn't deviate from that on Tuesday night. While Lurie is now 65 and has seen his team in the Super Bowl just once, he understands the need to be patient. 

The Eagles hope they found their franchise quarterback last season. Now it's all about drafting the talent to put around him to make the team successful. That's why the condition that Roseman beef up the personnel department upon his promotion was such an important part of his new job. 

"You have to draft well, you have to have multiple drafts in a row, hopefully, where you surround that quarterback on all sides of the ball and that's the formula. It's not that complicated. It's hard to accomplish, but it's not that complicated," Lurie said. 

"As an owner, I have to be really patient and at the same time, very competitive. We'll make moves that will make us better this year, however, we won't make a move where it's going to cost us flexibility or ability to use resources in future years. Because we're in the mode where we're not one player away. We have lots of holes."

It's up to Douglas and Roseman to fill them.

Owners meetings: Jeff Lurie wants to bring back Kelly green jerseys

Owners meetings: Jeff Lurie wants to bring back Kelly green jerseys

PHOENIX -- Jeff Lurie wants to bring back Kelly green. 

The Eagles owner confirmed on Tuesday evening in Arizona at the annual league meetings that a proposal the Eagles initially submitted last week to allow teams to wear alternate helmets was all about bringing back the fan-favorite jerseys. 

For years, fan feedback to reporters about bringing Kelly green jerseys back has been overwhelming.

"It's overwhelming for me too. I would love to see it," Lurie said. "I love the midnight green, I think it's great. But I also want the Kelly green. I'd love for us to have both and some games have one and some games have the other. I think that would be more fun."

The reason the Eagles aren't yet using their Kelly green jerseys is language in the NFL's on-field policy that prohibits teams from wearing alternate helmets. For now, teams are only permitted to wear their primary helmets. And a midnight green helmet atop a Kelly green jersey would be an obvious clash. 

The resolution the Eagles proposed, but then withdrew before the competition committee met, would strike that language from the rule and  allow teams to wear alternate helmets "in a color to match their third uniform."  

Lurie said before the owners' meetings, the Eagles met with the competition committee, which told them the rule wouldn't pass. That's when they decided to withdraw the proposal this year. 

But Lurie isn't giving up. 

"They are aware that many teams would like to see this," he said. "My hope is that we'll be able to get it done hopefully by next March."

When asked why the league doesn't currently allow alternate helmets to be worn, Lurie declined to get into the specifics, saying it's a "complicated scenario." But he also seemed optimistic that eventually, the Eagles will be back in Kelly green. While Lurie preached patience in football matters, he admitted he's a little more impatient on this topic. 

Lurie's plan is to at first try the Kelly green jerseys as an alternate for two or three games, but didn't rule out the possibility of making a full-time switch back to the fan-favorite color. 

The last time the Eagles wore Kelly green was in 2010, when they faced the Packers in the 50th anniversary of the 1960 NFL championship. 

There would be a way to get around the current rules to wear Kelly green, but Lurie is set on doing it the right way. 

"Decals are an option," Lurie said, shaking his head, "but I want a Kelly green helmet. It looks better."