Doug Pederson: Eagles QB Carson Wentz ‘close’ to return

PHILADELPHIA – Eagles coach Doug Pederson said the decision to start Nick Foles over Carson Wentz in the team's opener Thursday night was based on the fact that Wentz has not been cleared by the medical staff.

Pederson said he hadn't told either quarterback about the decision until Monday, two days after an NFL Network report stated that Foles would start. Pederson said that's why he was abrasive in his press conference Sunday, when he said the media was "putting words in my mouth."

"The decision was not made at the time," Pederson said Tuesday. "I still wanted to hear from our medical team. I wanted to see exactly where Carson was at. Again, if I came off a little abrasive, that’s part of the reason … I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing for both guys, No. 1, and obviously the Philadelphia Eagles."

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Wentz is recovering from two torn knee ligaments. Pederson said Wentz is "close" to being ready to play, but wouldn't give a time frame, other than to say he has to be cleared by the medical staff.

"I’m no doctor, no expert," Pederson said. "I’m still leaving it up to the medical team. He’s had some great workouts here in the last few days. We’ll see."

The timing of Pederson's decision to inform the quarterbacks on Monday seemed strange. The Eagles began practicing for the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. That would be when the Eagles would give the large majority of practice reps to the starting quarterback.

The Eagles split reps between Foles and Wentz during the preseason, especially after Wentz was cleared to resume team 11-on-11 drills on Aug. 19. Pederson said last week that he would have a decision on a starting quarterback by Friday, presumably for the first practice of game week on Sunday.

Pederson added last week that he wouldn't share the decision publicly once he made it, and he didn't.

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