Zach Ertz doesn’t know if he’ll be back with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021, nor does he want to be the spokesperson for Carson Wentz. But one thing the Pro Bowl tight end wanted to get across on Monday was just how much he appreciated the City of Brotherly Love.
Ertz, making his first public comments since October, got extremely emotional during a nearly 20-minute Zoom call with Philly reporters. He touched on a variety of topics from Doug Pederson not naming him a team captain to start the year to his ongoing contract negotiations. Ertz was seen sitting alone on the sideline after Sunday night’s game, perhaps opening a small window into his soul as he reflected on his time in Philly.
“I think this city is the best city to play for and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” Ertz told reporters as he attempted to hold back tears. “I’m not the greatest Eagle by any means, but I think just in today’s world, just handling this city for you young players, this city’s tough. It’s not a city that cares about how you feel you did, whether you had a great day or a terrible day, especially if you had a terrible day, they don’t want any excuses. And I don’t think I ever made an excuse.”
Ertz is still looking for a new contract — one that pays him in line with the top tight ends in football — after negotiations stalled in training camp. The 30-year-old cut those talks off because he didn’t want them to be a distraction during the regular season. Ertz wants to put on that midnight green jersey again next year, but he understands it’s a business. And he hasn’t been given any reassurances one way or the other.
“I want to be here,” Ertz said. “Even if for some reason, something were to happen, maybe I come back at the end [of my career]. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. I’m reflecting on this year and this year was tough, obviously, not the year we wanted to have as a team. Not the year I wanted to have for myself by any means, from an individual standpoint, so I don’t think I can answer that right now.”
Follow the Heavy on Eagles Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Not Carson Wentz’s Spokesperson
It’s no secret that Ertz shares a special bond with Carson Wentz, one rooted in their Christian faith and the way they think about football. While the two struggled to find chemistry on the field in 2020, it hasn’t hurt their friendship.
Ertz called Wentz a “franchise quarterback” who was capable of leading a team to the playoffs every single year. The Eagles veteran didn’t want to speak for Wentz’s mindset, specifically in regard to a report of the quarterback demanding a trade — although Ertz did admit that “no one wants to be a backup” — and then hinted at possibly following Wentz if he did latch on with another team.
“Of course I want to play with Carson as along as I possibly can,” Ertz said. “He’s a franchise quarterback. He’s a quarterback that can lead you to the playoffs every year. He can put you in contention to win Super Bowls. Who wouldn’t want to play with that? Someone who wants to work on the practice field as much as he wants to shine on Sundays.”
Immediately, the comparison of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady came to light. It’s an interesting thought, but Ertz was quick to shoot down the notion that he needed a “change of scenery.” He loves Philadelphia and the culture supported by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. I feel great,” Ertz said about wanting to leave town. “I feel like I still have a lot of good years left, a lot of good years of being a productive tight end in this league … there are a lot of things out of my control and I won’t have a lot of angst either way.”
He kept pumping up the Eagles’ culture, talking about how Malcolm Jenkins stayed after practice to coach up the scout-team receivers, same for Jalen Mills — and Jason Peters taking extra time to work with Andre Dillard. Little things not everyone gets to see.
“The culture with the Philadelphia Eagles is one that no matter what is going on, the culture that I know in this organization is that when things are going poorly you get on the practice field and you work harder,” Ertz said. “My time in Philadelphia has been the best experience I’ve ever had.”
Relationship with Roseman Remains Strong
There was a report back in September that Ertz and Roseman got into a “very heated discussion” about the tight end’s contract. Yes, the two chatted and didn’t see eye to eye on terms on a new deal. But that doesn’t mean there is any animosity or ill will.
“It never got to the point where it needed to be salvageable,” Ertz said. “We had our conversation early in the year which I think was blown out of proportion and that was the last time we talked about the situation. I told them once the season started I didn’t want to talk about it again.”
So now those conversations will resume and Ertz is prepared to live with any and all outcomes. He’s not someone who holds grudges, never has been. And he credited Roseman, Lurie and head coach Doug Pederson for establishing a strong foundation and creating a certain “Philadelphia Eagles” way of doing things that he greatly respects.
“I have a really good relationship with Howie, I have a really good relationship with everyone,” Ertz said, adding he was a “little surprised” about not being named a team captain. “I truly love everything that this organization stands for and that’s due to the fact that Doug, Howie and Mr. Lurie run it a certain way.”
Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Hopefully, it ends with Ertz’s signature on a piece of paper in South Philly.
“I love being in Philadelphia, I love being a Philadelphia Eagle and we’ll have those conversations when we do,” Ertz said. “I’m not going to be bitter. I’m going to be honest and open and understanding.”
- Doug Pederson Reveals ‘Final Say’ on QB Change
- Carson Wentz Responds to Criticism
- Eagles Talk Benching Carson Wentz for Jalen Hurts
- Eagles Admit to Having Sloppy Practices
- Eagles Respond to Bombshell Blow It Up Report