He has been riding the roller coaster nobody saw coming, the one that swooped up Michael Vick and launched him back into the world of superstardom. Kevin Kolb, meanwhile, kept quiet, worked hard behind the scenes and waited for another day, and another chance. That opportunity is likely to come on Sunday, with Vick recovering from a quad contusion.
And it is a showcase event for Kolb, no matter how you slice. Not so the Eagles can put him out there and raise his stock for any future move they might make with him, but Kolb wants to be the show. He considers every microcosm of his football life as a showcase event.
"I think every time you step on the field, every time you handle yourself with the media, every time you are in a meeting with your fellow teammates, it's a showcase," said Kolb. "Things are always being said. Hopefully it is a body of work, but I plan to go out there and rock and roll as good as ever. So if that is what it takes, and that is what everybody is saying, that's what it will be."
Geez, Kolb does and says all of the right things. He has been dealt a cruel deck of cards this year. After waiting for three seasons to get his chance to be the "quarterback of the present" for the Eagles, Kolb suffered a concussion in the opener against Green Bay, then Vick stepped in and earned a Pro Bowl nod.
Fair? Sure. As fair as life gets in the NFL. There was no denying Vick's impact, just as there is no denying how promising Kolb's NFL prospects look, whether they blossom here, or with another team. There is no telling what direction the Eagles might take in the months ahead.
Kolb's focus doesn't extend beyond Sunday, to be honest. He has taken all of the first-team reps in practice this week, a welcomed stretch of work to knock off the rust that has accumulated during the weeks of inactivity. Kolb professes to have watched more film than he has ever watched to keep his mental reps high. He and rookie Mike Kafka have worked overtime after practice to sharpen their mechanics and build some mileage on their throwing odometer.
There hasn't been a better teammate in the world than Kevin Kolb this season. There hasn't been a more patient man in the league than Kolb, and there is nobody who has said and done all the right things during a season of extreme adversity.
"I want to play, of course, but I am also having a lot of fun with this football team, with Michael," he said. "We have a great friendship and we have a lot of respect for each other. I know people may think otherwise, but that's the truth. What matters to me is going out there and beating the Dallas Cowboys and then winning in the playoffs. We can go win the Super Bowl here, me as a starter or not."
Kolb has four starts and two wins this season. He has completed 63.4 percent of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In the opener against Green Bay the offense struggled for a half before Kolb was KO'd on a sack by linebacker Clay Matthews and Vick went in and dazzled for a half, and then Vick was unstoppable against Detroit and, well, you know the rest. You know that Kolb went out and won two of three games when Vick was out with his rib injury, and that against Atlanta Kolb was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week after completing 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns.
His body of work includes the previous games he has played this season, along with the two starts he had in 2009, as well as the extraordinary number of mental repetitions he has taken in four seasons as an Eagle.
Kolb has the football again for Sunday. How long he holds it, well, nobody knows. Every day is a chance to improve.
"It's hard. I'm not sure you are ever going to be as right as you would be as a starter," he said. "I think if you try to stay as mentally right as possible and try to put yourself in every play, that helps you. I'm learning every day, every year, how to become more and more efficient not being out there playing."
Well, he is likely to play on Sunday. Kolb has a chance to establish himself once again with another showcase event.