Carson Wentz stood at the podium at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday and fielded questions for the first time since getting cleared for contact a full 283 days after injuring his knee in Los Angeles.
On Sunday, he will make his first start of the 2018 season as the Indianapolis Colts come to Philadelphia. It has been a long offseason for Wentz who has been rehabbing to get out on the field as soon as possible.
While he was unable to reach his goal of starting Week 1, something he said was "frustrating," it was a rewarding feeling on Monday to finally get cleared and be announced as the starting quarterback.
"Obviously, I was excited," Wentz said. "It's been a long time coming. It's been quite the grind of an offseason ... so a lot of excitement, a lot of built-up almost anxiety over when it was going to be that time, and almost relief finally being cleared to get back out there."
This Sunday will be an exciting day for Wentz and the fans who have patiently waited to see him take the field again. The Linc will be jumping, and Wentz knows he will have to draw on past experiences to keep his emotions leveled.
"I think it's the same way I temper excitements going back to my first start in college my junior year, my first start in the league against Cleveland a couple years ago. I think it's the same approach," Wentz said. "Obviously, I'm going to have a lot of excitement and everything but once we get playing, it's just football."
Head coach Doug Pederson answered questions at the podium a little over an hour before Wentz, joking that there was no more news to break and that all was right in the universe. He too expects an electric atmosphere on Sunday and said that regardless of how he prepares the team, the excitement will be prevalent.
"I could talk to him until Sunday at kickoff and there's always going to be that high emotion," Pederson said. "Everybody has that anticipation when they take the field and you kind of want him to experience that. ... It's going to be a good feeling and will be good for our city and good for our team, and I'm just looking forward to Sunday."
Questions have risen about Wentz's potential effectiveness and ability in his first game back. He did not play in the preseason and the speed of a game is of course different than practice. His teammates have said that they need to work hard around him so he doesn't have to do it all.
But Wentz and Pederson are prepared to get on the field and start quickly. Pederson has said once Wentz is cleared, he plans to use him without reservations. And Wentz added that practicing against the first-team defense has prepared him for his season debut. He has high expectations for the offense.
"We expect to go up, start fast, play fast, get clicking, so I truly believe that's a realistic expectation," Wentz said. "I know once I'm out there, I'll feel good ... the more experience the better, but I think it'll come second nature when I'm out there."
When Wentz's first home game since last November begins on Sunday, he said he will cherish running out of the tunnel and going to battle with his teammates once again. And no matter the expectations or measuring sticks used for his return, he is focused on one simple goal.
"Obviously, you want to go out there and win," Wentz said. "My goal is to win and we've got a good opponent coming in. We're fortunate enough to play at home. I love playing at home. I know that place is going to be rocking on Sunday, so obviously the goal is to go 1-0 this week."