Frank Reich Apologized to Jim Irsay After Vouching For Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz and Frank Reich, New York Jets v Indianapolis Colts
Carson Wentz and Frank Reich, New York Jets v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The Indianapolis Colts are in search of a new quarterback after trading Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders on Wednesday. The move corrected a complete bust of a trade that brought Wentz to Indy from the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason. It turns out, Colts head coach Frank Reich lobbied hard for the franchise to land Wentz. According to a new report, he realized his mistake and actually apologized to Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Reich was Wentz's offensive coordinator for two seasons in Philadelphia and was part of the group that made him the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Under Reich's direction, Wentz went 11-2 as the Eagles' starter in 2017, throwing for 33 touchdowns and 3,296 yards in 13 games. Wentz's season was cut short by a torn ACL and Philadelphia went on to win Super Bowl LII with Nick Foles under center.

After that season Reich was hired to coach the Colts. With what he'd seen from Wentz in 2016 and 2017, it's not surprising he wanted Indianapolis to land the young signal-caller.

Then it all went wrong.

How bad did it go? According to an article from The Athletic's Zak Keefer, after the 2021 season, Reich personally apologized to Irsay for thinking he could fix Wentz. Here's the relevant section of the article:

Reich, who originally pushed for the trade to acquire Wentz last winter, apologized to Irsay after the season, according to a source. The coach believed he could resurrect Wentz’s stalled career and solve the Colts’ quarterback conundrum.

“I stuck my neck out for him last year,” Reich admitted earlier this month.

When your No. 1 cheerleader backs away from you, things are bad.

How bad did they get? Well in 17 games Wentz was 26th in passing yards per game (209.6), 25th in completion percentage (62.4) and had a pedestrian passer rating of 94.6. He only threw seven interceptions, but six came in the second half of games and he failed to lead a game-winning drive all season. Perhaps worst of all, in the Colts' must-win Week 18 matchup with the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, Wentz finished with a QBR of 4.3. The Colts lost 26-11 and scored a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown to make the game look closer than it was. They missed the playoffs as a result.

The fact even Reich was willing to admit Wentz was a mistake is a damning indictment of who he is as a player and a leader.