Former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles said he has grown spiritually while recovering from an injury and rejects the prosperity gospel.
Foles has been sitting out for nearly two months after suffering a clavicle injury in his first game as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
An outspoken Christian who hopes to one day become a pastor after he hangs up his cleats, he spoke to reporters on Wednesday as he is anticipated to make his return to game action this Sunday for the first time since he broke his collarbone in the first week of season.
Considering that Foles’ signing with the Jaguars was supposed to be his first real shot in years to be a true starting quarterback after sitting behind Carson Wentz on the Philadelphia Eagles depth chart, he was asked if his faith was tested at all because of the unfortunate injury.
“Right when I felt this thing break and I was going into the locker room, I just realized that this wasn’t exactly what I was thinking when I came to Jacksonville. Obviously, you come here and you want to create a culture and impact people,” he said at the beginning of a long-winded answer to the question.
“But at the end of the day, I said, ‘God, if this is the journey that you want me to go on, I am going to glorify you in every action good or bad.’”
Although going down with an injury that kept him out for over half of the season was not an ideal situation for Foles, he explained that he could still find “joy in an injury.”
“People can hear that and say ‘That is crazy,’” Foles said. “But when you believe in Jesus and you go out there and you play, that changes your heart. You only understand it when [you have] that purpose in your life, just like when I hoisted the [Vince] Lombardi Trophy. The reason I am smiling is because my faith is in Christ.”
Although Foles got the opportunity to start in the 2018 NFL playoffs because of an injury suffered by Wentz and even helped the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory, he told the media that he doesn’t need a trophy to define who he is because his identity is “already in Christ.”
“That’s my message when I play. Same thing happens when I get injured,” Foles said. “We tend to make this so much about us as human beings and we tend to make it about us as athletes. It’s not about us. It really isn’t.”
“If you make it about yourself, you are probably going to go home at night, lay your head on your pillow and be very alone and very sad,” he continued. “Hopefully someday, you can find that purpose in your life because our purpose isn’t football. It’s impacting people.”
Foles asserted that his ministry, at this stage of his life, is in the locker room.
“I have been able to get to know people and get to know these guys through an injury,” he explained. “Though I might not be playing, that is difficult from a fleshly perspective. But from a spiritual perspective, from my heart, I have been able to grow as a human being to where I feel like I am at a better situation here as a person than I was before because of the trial I just went under.”
Foles stressed that faith in Christ is “not all about prosperity.”
“I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel,” Foles stated. “I believe that if you read the word of God and you understand it, there [are] trials along the way. But, they equip your heart to be who you are.”
Foles, who grew up in Austin, Texas and played his college ball at the University of Arizona, said in a press conference prior to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis last year that his desire after football is to become a pastor at a high school.
Foles has even taken online classes through Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity.
"It's on my heart,” he said. “I took a leap of faith last year and signed up to take classes at seminary. I wanted to continue to learn and challenge my faith. It's a challenge because you are writing papers that are biblically correct. You want to impact people's hearts.”
"It's something I want to do,” he went on. “I can't play football forever. I've been blessed with an amazing platform and it's just a door God has opened. But I still have a lot of school left and a long journey."