JACKSONVILLE – Nick Foles returned to practice Thursday.
On Friday, he spoke to the media – and when he did, the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback thanked fans and everyone else who had expressed condolences and support to him and his family during what has been an emotional week.
“A lot of people reached out, and we’re grateful for that,” Foles said Friday following practice on Day 6 of Jaguars 2019 organized team activities at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex adjacent to TIAA Bank Field.
Foles and his wife, Tori, announced via social media Wednesday they had suffered a miscarriage. Tori at the time was 15 weeks pregnant.
Foles said Friday he was grateful for the “prayers and support.”
“There are a lot of people who have been through this,” Foles said. “It’s difficult. It’s really difficult. It will always be emotional, but ultimately, we trust the Lord in this process. We get home to our beautiful baby girl. We hug her even tighter.
“There will be a process of going through. Tori’s going through a lot right now. The team has been awesome, but when I’m done here, I’ll get home to them (his family) and that way we’ll continue to heal with one another. We’re doing good and progressing.”
Head Coach Doug Marrone said Foles – and any other player – must decide on their own an appropriate time to return when dealing with off-field issues.
“I never want them to deal with it from the standpoint that they’re getting pressure, or responsibility for their team,” Marrone said. “For me, it’s always been faith, and my family – those have been one and two. Then it’s my job – and then I’d like to say social life, but you guys know I don’t have one. But that would be the fourth one if I did.
“If you sit up here and say those are the things that are important to you as a person, but then it doesn’t reflect that in your program, then you’re a (BS) artist. That’s plain and simple. So, for me in these situations I try to show as much empathy as I can and do whatever I possibly can to make sure they know, ‘This is family, and we’ll be there for you and support you.’
“Do I appreciate him being back? Obviously that answer is yes, but I only appreciate it if he feels comfortable with how his family is taken care of and where they are emotionally. I don’t judge by time coming back, because each person is different and every situation is different.”
Foles said he decided to return to practice this week after speaking with Tori. OTAs, like all offseason work except for a three-day June minicamp, are voluntary under NFL rules.
“She knows I’m going to get home, and she knows how important family is to me,” Foles said. “But she also wanted me to be here to be with the team. Right after this, I’ll go shower up and grab some water – because it’s starting to get humid – and run home and be with my family.
“It’s really up to her. She wanted me to come here and be with the team.”
Foles called Tori – who played volleyball at the University of Arizona – “way stronger than I’ll ever be.”
“She’s gone through so much, and people don’t realize it,” She was an athlete in college, working in Nike out of school, and then one day her life changed. She was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. She was bedridden and she battles that every single day.
“We’ve gone through so much these last couple of years and she’s going through this now. She’s so strong. She’s unbelievable. She fights through everything.”
Foles on Friday said it was Tori’s strength that prompted him to continue playing when he considered retirement following the 2015 season with the St. Louis Rams.
“She never stopped believing in me,” Foles said. “She knew I was facing so much fear and so much struggle deep inside my heart. That was why I wore No. 4 that season [as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs]. She was No. 4 and I wanted to wear her number and honor her.
“It’s really a blessing that the Lord brought us together and we get to go through life together.”
Take a look at images as the Jaguars closed out the second week of organized team activities.