Starting out the season as a second-string quarterback, Nick Foles is now a backup-turned-postseason hero after leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 38-7 win over the Vikings, paving the way to Super Bowl 52.
But in spite of being showered in praise by fans and teammates alike, Foles is one Eagles player—similar to his band of Bible-believing brothers—that redirects the glory to God first and foremost.
With a Twitter bio simply reading, “Believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother,” it’s unquestionable that the QB humbly puts his faith above football in every circumstance.
But what most people don’t know is just how close Foles was to giving up the game he loved for good.
In a 2017 devotional with YouVersion, he opened up to viewers about how he nearly quit his football career, shortly before a revelation from God that kept him on the course:
“A lot of people don’t know this — I’m going to share this right now, because I think it’s important. After my time with a certain NFL team, I wanted to retire. This was a year ago. I wanted to retire from the NFL, and I really struggled. I couldn’t pick up a football for about eight months. I had no love for the game, and it was tough. But I kept reading scripture, I kept praying, and asking God.”
After going from a starter to being traded, benched, and then back-up, Foles has certainly seen his fair share of turbulence throughout his career.
He explains that 2 Corinthians 12:9 has been a big verse for him the past couple of years through his ups and downs with the NFL:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’”
“This verse has brought so much meaning to my heart and in my life,” he says.
But there was still a deep unsettling in his soul about this major decision to leave the game.
Out of desperation for answers, he even tried pleading for signs–ANYTHING that would give him direction on the right decision to make.
“And so many of us ask God for signs. We ask God to show us, ‘Hey, please just put it on the wall, like I wanna know,’ but that’s not how it works,” admitted Foles. “He’s not always gonna do that. He can put something on your heart, but He’s not always gonna give you just a flat-out sign. As I read this verse, looking back, He was shaping me. He was bringing me down to my knees. I’ll never forget the moment when I decided that I had the heart to play football and I wanted to use the platform that God had given me to glorify Him with everything I have.”
Foles says it gave him a “completely revigorated outlook” on the game that he was nearly ready to give up on.
“I remember praying to him,” he recalls in his waiting period. “At that moment, through that prayer, He said, ‘Hey, just take a step of faith. You’re either going to stop playing the game of football and you’re going to go onto a different area of your life and I’m going to be with you, I’m going to be the most important thing in your life, or you’re going to step back into football and you’re going to continue to play and I’m going to be with you every step of the way and you’re going to play to glorify me.”
“In that moment, I decided to go back into the game of football, and it was the greatest decision I ever made.”
Watch the YouVersion video below to hear the rest of Nick Fole’s testimony, as he shares how God used his period of waiting to develop a character in him that only could have been forged by the fire of uncertainty and the willingness to hit his knees: