Nick Foles contemplated retirement after a miserable season with the Rams in which he ended up losing his starting job to Case Keenum.

That’s just one spin of a unique quarterback carousel that’ll be on display when Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) host Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings (14-3) in the NFC championship game Sunday.

”It pretty wild Youth Armani Watts Jersey ,” Foles said. ”Case’s success and the way he plays doesn’t surprise me because him and I were together and we prepared together. We were around each other every day. But I think the big message there is no matter what happens, you’ve just got to keep believing in yourself, keep working hard and just never give up.”

The cycle began when former Eagles coach Chip Kelly traded Foles to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford in March 2015. A day later, the Rams acquired Keenum from the Houston Texans to back up Foles.

Foles went 4-7 in 11 starts for the Rams before he was benched for Keenum. Meanwhile, Bradford had a decent season with the Eagles, but was traded to Minnesota a week before the 2016 season opener to pave the way for Carson Wentz. The Vikings needed Bradford to replace the injured Teddy Bridgewater. Bradford had a career year in 2016.

Foles asked for his release from the Rams after they moved to Los Angeles and drafted Jared Goff No. 1, one pick ahead of Wentz. Foles seriously considered hanging up the cleats before Andy Reid – who drafted him in third round in Philadelphia in 2012 – persuaded him to join the Kansas City Chiefs as a backup to Alex Smith.

Foles played well in two games in relief and then returned to Philly on a two-year deal to provide insurance behind Wentz this season. Keenum helped groom Goff in Los Angeles last year and then went to Minnesota to back up Bradford.

Keenum stepped into the lineup in September after Bradford was injured and had by far the best season of his career, passing for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Foles took over in Philadelphia after Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14.

Now, the former teammates are one win away from starting in the Super Bowl.

”I know this is what all of you guys predicted back in the day, a Foles vs. Keenum NFC championship,” Keenum joked. ”So good job to all of you guys who predicted that.”

The Eagles are fortunate Foles chose to keep playing a year ago.

”I talked a lot to my wife and I remember just saying a prayer,” Foles recalled. ”Going to back to play for coach Reid, I am a better person because of that decision. It wasn’t an easy decision. But I leaned on my wife, I leaned on my family and I leaned on my faith in those moments, and I’m very grateful I made the decision.”

Foles started six games his rookie season, going 1-5 on a 4-12 team that got Reid fired after 14 seasons in Philadelphia. He began 2013 as the backup to Michael Vick in Kelly’s first season in the NFL and ended up having a sensational year, leading the Eagles to an NFC East title.

He threw 29 TDs and only two picks – including playoffs – and posted a passer rating of 119.2, third highest in league history. He tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a game at Oakland in November 2013.

Foles wasn’t quite as spectacular in 2014, but the Eagles were 6-2 in his eight starts. He tossed 13 TDs, 10 interceptions and missed the final eight games after breaking his collarbone.

Then he went to St. Louis and struggled on another one of Jeff Fisher’s losing teams. Keenum, an undrafted free agent in 2012 who bounced around from with the Texans and Rams Youth Kalen Ballage Jersey , also didn’t have much success playing for Fisher. Neither did Goff. All three have thrived playing for other coaches.

”You’ve just always got to believe and you always have to prepare,” Foles said. ”Sometimes things happen where unfortunately guys get injured and you have to step in and it’s your job to lead the team. (Keenum) has really done an amazing job. It doesn’t surprise me. That was my job stepping in for Carson to lead this team like I have before.”

Foles completed 77 percent (23 of 30) for 246 yards in a 15-10 win over Atlanta last week.

Keenum, 9-15 as a starter before joining the Vikings, followed his breakout season by leading Minnesota to an improbable comeback win against the Saints, tossing a 61-yard TD pass to Stefon Diggs as time expired.

The two quarterbacks are good friends off the field.

”Nick is a great guy,” Keenum said. ”Great faith, great family. My wife and his wife are great friends. His entire family are good people. Great football player. Prepares well, extremely talented, big arm and he’s really, really athletic, too. I know he’s got a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to playing against him.”



AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell contributed.




TORONTO — There was a sense of relief in the Detroit Tigers’ clubhouse after their 9-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.

The victory, propelled by a grand slam from Nicholas Castellanos, a career-best four hits by Niko Goodrum and seven strong innings by starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, ended an 11-game losing streak.

It was the Tigers’ longest losing streak since Aug. 13-23, 2003. They have not lost 12 in a row since 1996.

“It’s good to hear the music playing out there and guys smiling,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The Tigers have a chance to escape the Rogers Centre with a split in the four-game series by winning the finale on Monday afternoon.

The Tigers will start right-hander Mike Fiers (5-4, 4.04 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.00).

The Tigers had a team meeting before the game.

“It was just a casual talk,” Gardenhire said. “It wasn’t this rah-rah (speech). … I just let them talk and I just said to them, ‘Tell me what we need to do.’ Some guys spoke up and that’s all I wanted to hear. We’re playing hard. We’ve lost 11 in a row up to this point. These guys have been playing, man. They’ve been in every game. We’ve had a chance to win a bunch of these games.”

The Tigers (37-48) were able to put together a five-run fifth inning with a rally that started with two outs against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who was 6-0 in his previous eight starts. They added two runs in the sixth, also with a rally that began with two out.

The losing streak was the longest by two games in the majors this season and the longest since the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11 in a row last September.

“We’ve had our chances over the last 10 or 11 games Youth Durham Smythe Jersey ,” Zimmermann said. “It’s just a matter of if we’re going to cash in when we’ve got guys in scoring position. We were able to do that today.”

The Blue Jays (39-44) are expected to trade Happ before the July 31 deadline. When he departed in the sixth inning, the Canada Day crowd gave him an ovation.

“I did notice, and I certainly appreciate that,” Happ said. “Maybe it was appreciation for how the season has gone so far or whatever you might take from it, that’s kind of what I took from it. That’s a nice feeling, certainly nicer than potentially getting booed, not that I would expect that at all, either.”

The Tigers face a pitcher who made his major-league debut Tuesday against the Astros in Houston in Borucki. He took the loss after allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.

Fiers pitched seven strong innings Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics, but took the loss despite allowing only one run on five hits and one walk while striking out five.

Fiers has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career, five as a starter, and is 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA. He made two starts against Toronto last season and was 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA. In two career starts at the Rogers Centre, Fiers is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA.

The only disappointing news for the Tigers Sunday came from a hamstring injury to center fielder Leonys Martin, who hobbled off the field after a beating out an RBI bunt single in the fifth inning. It was at first announced as a cramp, but Gardenhire said the injury was severe enough to put him on the disabled list. Another player will be brought in for the game Monday.

The day was not a complete loss for the Blue Jays. In the ninth inning, center fielder Kevin Pillar made a spectacular leaping catch to rob Castellanos of what would have been his second homer of the day.

Gardenhire said even Castellanos appreciated Pillar’s catch, although it cost him a homer.

“That was amazing,” Gardenhire said. “That’s a long run, to climb the wall like that and make that play, the timing, the whole package that just tells you how special an athlete he is.”

The teams are 3-3 in the season series.