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Carson Wentz Understands The Time Is Now


Last year's No. 2 overall pick put on a brilliant display in his NFL debut, throwing for 272 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

If we have learned anything from his first season in Philadelphia, Carson Wentz doesn't wait long to make a good impression.

On Tuesday, Wentz launched the Carson Wentz AO1 (Audience of One) Foundation to provide "opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need." Wentz's passion for his faith, helping others, the outdoors, and dogs are the main tenets of the charity that will look to enrich the lives of people around the world.

Even at just 24 years old, the face of the Eagles' franchise is well aware of the cachet that comes with being an NFL quarterback. He didn't want to wait to leverage that status into his off-field endeavors.

"I definitely recognize that there's a bigger picture, a bigger purpose than just playing football," Wentz said. "I recognized that even before the draft came around. I knew at some point that I wanted to give back and use my platform to try and find a way to make as big a difference as I could. I didn't want to sit around and wait for that."

Toward the end of the 2016 season, Wentz decided that he wanted to put a plan for starting the foundation in place. He worked closely with his older brother, Zach, to craft the mission statement and identify the foundation's goals. A kickoff event was held in Oxbow, North Dakota on Wednesday and raised $370,000.

"Honestly, I was kind of blown away," Wentz said. "I remember going through the live auction, I didn't have a running total at the time, but I knew we were raising a lot of money. I was in awe, honestly, because all I could do was picture the people in the Philly area, the Midwest, and overseas who are going to be impacted by this."

If you were to go back in time to when Wentz was a student at Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, the thought of dogs and hunting as pillars of his foundation today would have been, as he put it, "crazy." Wentz didn't have a dog growing up, and he wasn't into hunting as a child. He was too impatient, wanting to go to the park and play sports instead. He has memories of going out hunting with his dad, Doug, and brother, but it certainly wasn't an integral part of his life back then.

But at North Dakota State, he went on a trip with a friend from high school and his dogs. He had so much fun watching the dogs run around the snow and realized that he had been missing out. He got a dog of his own entering his sophomore year of college and called it "one of the best decisions that he ever made." In Philadelphia, Wentz's foundation will work to provide service and therapy dogs to people in need.

"I know what my dogs (Henley and Jersey) do for me, and by no means are they service dogs," Wentz said. "I know the joy that they bring me and how much I truly love them and care about them. Service dogs can really impact people's lives on a whole other level. I know that these dogs can ultimately uplift and change some lives."

In North Dakota and the Midwest, Wentz will share his love of the outdoors by creating experiences for people who are unable to due to physical or financial reasons.

"Ultimately, I want to give people who have a desire to experience the outdoors but wouldn't get the opportunity. Maybe it's because of a disability. Maybe they are unable to financially. Maybe they are sick or hurting. I just want to help provide some joy," Wentz said.

Back in May, Wentz and wide receiver Jordan Matthews spent a weekend in Haiti on a mission trip. Wentz had already decided that his foundation would help poverty-stricken communities around the globe, but seeing it firsthand just solidified the need to supply aid.

"You just shouldn't see people living like that. You shouldn't see those things. My heart broke for those people and I wanted to make a difference. I want to help in a positive and strategic way. It confirmed why I was going with that approach," he said.

Wentz wants to do an event in Philadelphia, but the planning will wait until after the season. Football is the primary focus now. In the meantime, Wentz's foundation is raising money by selling T-shirts and will be adding other items in the months to come.

As a rookie on the field, Wentz set the tone for what the Eagles and their fans hope is a long and successful run in Philadelphia. This past week, Wentz became the quarterback of a different team, one that has the potential to make lasting change in people's lives.

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