NEW ORLEANS — Nick Foles exited the visitors locker room Sunday with a backpack slung on his shoulder and wheeling a small black suitcase behind him.
Wearing a dark green button-down shirt and a black winter hat, he paused in the corridor to rummage through his things and have a moment with running back Jay Ajayi, who was passing by.
“Go get some R&R, bro,” Ajayi said after a hug.
“Oh yeah,” Foles responded.
But first, a visit with the media. He made his way into a cramped room on the opposite side of the tunnel, sliding past reporters wedged in locker stalls along the wall.
There were a few questions about the divisional-round loss to the New Orleans Saints, but most explored the topic on everyone’s mind: Was this the end?
Foles wasn’t ready to say so. He planned on enjoying the plane ride home with his teammates and wasn’t prepared to look beyond that just yet.
It was hard not to reflect, though, given the obvious significance of the moment. There is a very real chance this was Foles’ last night in an Eagles uniform. He has earned the right to be a starter in this league through guiding Philly to a title last year and a late-season surge this year. That opportunity will likely come elsewhere. Barring a big change in plans, Carson Wentz is the QB the franchise plans to hitch its wagon to. Foles can become a free agent this offseason if the Eagles don’t place the franchise tag on him.
“That’s a tough question,” Foles responded when asked how much he wants to stay in Philadelphia. “It’s a really unique situation. Something that, honestly, I need time to just step back. I love this city. I love playing there. We have three guys in that quarterback room that can play in this league.
“But I’ll tell you this: No matter what happens, it’s been a joy playing in the city, being in that quarterback room with Carson and Nate [Sudfeld] , going to work every day. The city means so much to me and my family. And it always will.”
Coach Doug Pederson took the time right after the game to thank Foles for everything that he has done.
“Just told him I loved him,” Pederson said, “and we’ll probably visit in the next couple days.”
His teammates offered their tributes as well.
“What an ultimate team guy he is,” tackle Lane Johnson said. “Really, a guy that likes to shy away from all the accolades and all the attention. I’ve had so many great memories, even from my rookie year, him just coming back and being a resilient guy. Winning a Super Bowl, that’s something that will never be taken away. Just a guy that’s really selfless and really loves his teammates a lot. And you don’t find too many guys like that in this league.”
As Foles made his way out of the interview room, reporters along the locker wall extended their hands to wish him well. As he got to the tunnel, he stopped and hugged an Eagles staff member goodbye. Then he regripped his suitcase handle and began walking across the Superdome field toward the bus and out of sight.