Farewells from Colts teammates contradict Carson Wentz’s leadership narrative
Washington Commanders acquired QB Carson Wentz in a trade from the Indianapolis Colts last Wednesday. Although necessary, the move was met with a heavy dose of vitriol by the majority of NFL fans and the corporate media.
While most of those reprimands were due to Wentz’s volatile tendencies as a quarterback, it also had something to do with his leadership and character concerns.
This narrative has followed Wentz throughout his career and it came to a head during his last season in Philadelphia in 2020, when he reportedly distanced himself from his teammates after being benched for Jalen Hurts.
Fast forward to this offseason and that narrative has returned.
According to Zak Keefer from Athleticismthe Colts became frustrated with Wentz “because of what they viewed as a lack of leadership, resistance to hard training, and reckless style of play, which played a part in several tight losses this year.”
Do what you want with it, but there have been many conflicting reports pointing to Wentz’s leadership, or lack thereof. We have our concerns, but the reactions of his former Colts teammates after the trade was reported should deter fans from dwelling on this narrative.
The first is Darius Leonard.
Is Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz really a bad leader?
If you’ve watched “Hard Knocks,” you know Leonard is the undisputed voice of the Indianapolis locker room. The fact that he fired the Colts’ QB carousel suggests he’s not thrilled the team unplugged Wentz after a year.
Leonard could have just chastised the Colts without mentioning Wentz and no one would have batted an eye. Instead, the All-Pro linebacker made sure to give his former quarterback a pat on the back as he walked out.
Then Michael Pittman Jr., who had a breakout second season catching passes from Wentz in 2021, tweeted his appreciation for Wentz. The second-year wide receiver went so far as to call Wentz “a great teammate and friend.”
To put Pittman and Wentz’s relationship Looking ahead, Wentz posted an Instagram working with Pittman and fellow Colts wide receiver Dezmon Patmon just two weeks ago. By then, the ESPN report that suggested Wentz’s time in Indianapolis had run its course had already hit the mainstream media.
But that didn’t stop Wentz from working with his teammates and it didn’t stop Pittman and Patmon from joining him.
Another farewell from Wentz came in the form of center Ryan Kelly, who called the quarterback “a leader on and off the court.”
It’s a glowing letter of recommendation from Kelly, who endured a heartbreaking tragedy during the 2021 season. In mid-December, Kelly announced the death of her baby daughter, Mary Kate, who suffered from heart failure. during his wife’s pregnancy.
During “Hard Knocks”, Wentz, a father of daughter, bonded with Kelly over having his first daughter. Does that sound like a bad leader?
And finally, we come to Jonathan Taylor.
Even before there were any doubts about Wentz’s future in Indy, the world running back gave the 29-year-old caller a huge vote of confidence, saying he loved Wentz at the both in the locker room and on the grill.
If you’ve already made up your mind about Wentz’s leadership instincts, you’re probably not going to change your mind. It is very good. We just felt compelled to share these quotes and farewells on social media, as they paint a whole different picture of the aloof locker room canker that Wentz is meant to be.
That’s not to say he’s perfect, but perspective matters and we care a lot about what his teammates think of him.