Commanders' Carson Wentz Responds to Troy Aikman's 'Last Opportunity' Comment

Adam WellsJune 9, 2022

ASHBURN, VA - JUNE 08: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders reacts during the organized team activity at INOVA Sports Performance Center on June 8, 2022 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz downplayed comments from Troy Aikman that this season could be his final opportunity to prove himself as a franchise player.

Speaking to reporters after a minicamp practice, Wentz admitted he wasn't even aware of Aikman's comments.

"You know, everyone's got their own opinion. I'm just excited to be playing this game, have this opportunity. I think we have the ability to do something special here and then we have a really good skill set offensively to be dynamic. It takes one day at a time, obviously, but for me, I don't try to put too much pressure on myself. I always have high expectations for myself and for the offense, but I don't try and play those types of games. I don't have enough mental space to kind of process all that and it can wear on you. So for me, I just show up to try and be the best I can be, go home and be the best I can be as a father and as a husband, come back and do it again."

During a conference call with reporters last month, Aikman said this is probably Wentz's "last opportunity, just being blunt about it, to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL."

The Commanders are Wentz's third team in the past three seasons. They acquired him, along with two draft picks, from the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for three draft picks in March.

Indianapolis acquired Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles in March 2021 for two picks. The deal reunited the 2017 Pro Bowler with Frank Reich, who was Philadelphia's offensive coordinator for his first two seasons in the NFL.

The Colts traded a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 pick that wound up being a first-rounder because Wentz played more than 70 percent of their offensive snaps.

Wentz had a solid statistical season with the Colts in 2021. He threw for 3,563 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 62.4 completion percentage in 17 starts.

Things ended badly for Wentz and the Colts. They lost their final two games of the regular season, including a 26-11 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18, to miss the playoffs.

Per The Athletic's Zak Keefer, the Colts had numerous issues with Wentz that go back to before the 2021 season began:

"As for the Colts, the issues with Wentz stretched back to before the season began, one source said, and over the course of the year, some grew frustrated at what they deemed a lack of leadership, a resistance to hard coaching and a reckless style of play, which had a role in several close losses this year."

At one point, Wentz looked like he was going to be Philadelphia's franchise quarterback. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft and was having an MVP-caliber season in 2017 before tearing his ACL in Week 14.

The Eagles went on to win Super Bowl LII with Nick Foles at quarterback. Wentz had intermittent success over the next three seasons in Philadelphia. The 29-year-old bottomed out in 2020 throwing 15 interceptions, tied for most in the NFL.

Washington is hoping Wentz can provide stability at quarterback. The franchise has started eight different players at the position since the start of the 2019 season.

The Commanders haven't had a winning record since 2016.