PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz was having an MVP-caliber season before a torn ACL forced him to the sideline, where he watched Nick Foles lead the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory.
Wentz has a mission to return for Week 1 and is already ahead of schedule after being cleared for 7-on-7 work last week. Still, he has a way to go before he is cleared for full activity.
"It's just a process," Wentz told The Associated Press. "There's the mental side of it, feeling comfortable with it, but also the physical limitations that the doctors put on you and you have to trust what they're saying.
"If I could tell you I'd be ready Week 1, I would. I just don't know. It's a fluid process. That's obviously the goal but so far things have been great."
Wentz's comeback comes with interesting circumstances: He has no pressure to return right away because the Eagles can lean on the Super Bowl MVP to start the season. And that's not necessarily a threat to Wentz, whose friendship with Foles doesn't have the strain seen in other famed NFL tandems like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers or Joe Montana and Steve Young.
"We've become so close ever since he first got here," Wentz said. "Developed a real friendship, a real relationship, more than just a working relationship, a true friendship."
Wentz admits it was difficult to see someone else hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy on stage first. But the two quarterbacks are more like brothers than competitors for the starting job.
"It's human nature to want to be on that podium and be the guy," Wentz said. "You grow up wanting to be there, but not being able to be up there, there's nobody I'd rather have up there than Nick."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson has made it clear there's no quarterback controversy in Philadelphia since the minute Foles finished a sensational performance in the 41-33 win over the Patriots. When he's healthy, Wentz is the guy. He's the face of the franchise.
"I still believe this is Carson's team," Pederson said Tuesday. "There are no egos involved. They're in this thing together. Both support each other. Nick supported Carson during the season last year, and then Carson turned around and supported Nick at the end of the year.
"Their relationship has carried over into this spring and summer, and it's really good. I see them working in the classroom. I see them working on the field. They keep talking. They want to get better individually. They want to get our team better. And so it's been a really good, really good dynamic between those two."
Foles has maintained since he replaced Wentz last December that he understands his role is the backup. He wants to start again in the NFL, but was happy to stay in Philadelphia.
"I've shown what I can do," Foles said. "I love the team and I love the city. I'm excited for Carson to get back."
While he was focused on rehabbing and returning to the field as quickly as possible, Wentz pursued other interests during the offseason. He went to Haiti for the second time in less than a year in April — teammates Zach Ertz, Nate Sudfeld and Rashard Davis joined him — and launched plans for his Audience of One Foundation to build a sports complex in that country.