JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was an easy choice for Nick Foles, one he has been waiting to make for 13 years.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars asked him about his preferred jersey number, shortly after he signed a four-year deal to be the team’s new starting quarterback, Foles chose No. 7. For one reason or another he hasn’t been able to wear that number since he left high school, and he believes the fact that it was available is a sign of good things to come in Jacksonville.
“It’s crazy how it all worked out,” Foles said. “I’m playing with a coach that I spent a lot of time with (new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who was Foles’ QB coach in Philadelphia). I’m coming to a city that intrigued me, being part of an organization, and I get to wear the No. 7 that I’ve waited for how many years to wear -- 10, 11, 12 -- so it just all came together in a special way.”
The last time Foles wore No. 7, he was breaking records at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, records that were held by eventual 12-time Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl champ Drew Brees. Since then...
He wore No. 17 at Michigan State in 2007 because starter Brian Hoyer was already wearing No. 7.
He transferred to Arizona, where Willie Tuitama had No. 7. Tuitama left Arizona after the 2008 season as the school’s all-time leading passer. Foles, who wore No. 8, surpassed him with 10,011 yards from 2009 to 2011.
Philadelphia drafted Foles in the third round in 2012 and there was no way he was getting No. 7 as a rookie. That was Michael Vick’s number. So he wore No. 9 from 2012 to 2014.
He left the Eagles for the St. Louis Rams in 2015 but couldn’t get No. 7 there because the Rams had retired the number in 1952. Quarterback Bob Waterfield wore it during his eight-year career with the Rams that resulted in his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. So Foles went with No. 5.
A year later, Foles was in Kansas City. Aaron Murray had No. 7, so Foles went with No. 4, which was his wife, Tori’s, number when she played volleyball at Arizona.
When Foles re-joined the Eagles in 2017, he went back to his old number with the Eagles (9), even though No. 7 was available. (Quarterback Nate Sudfeld ended up wearing No. 7.)
As of last Wednesday, when he signed a contract that averages $22 million annually and includes $50.125 million guaranteed, Foles finally has his favorite number again. If you think that’s not a big deal to him, well...
“This was the first opportunity where I could go back to my roots -- my high school and my childhood and I was just playing free like that -- and wear my No. 7,” he said. “I’m very honored to wear No. 7.”