Zach Ertz in his own words: 4 Major statements from an Eagles legend

Zach Ertz #86, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zach Ertz #86, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

We’ve all heard of the 24-hour rule, right? Part of the culture of football, especially in the NFL, is knowing how to bounce back. Cornerbacks have to have a short memory, especially if they get burned. Kickers have to have the confidence that they’ll knock the next one through if they miss a couple. The Philadelphia Eagles can’t get too high after a win or too low after a loss, but here’s a hall pass for everyone. If you’re still thinking about Zach Ertz today, we won’t beat you up about it.

The midpoint of October brought news that was both surprising and expected. Zach Ertz, the greatest tight end in Eagles history and the owner of the second-highest receiving total in franchise history, trades one nest for another. He leaves the Eagles to join the Arizona Cardinals.

Ertz, for the uninitiated, has always been a rare dude, and on Friday, he proved that again.

Related Story. Zach Ertz’s best moments as a member of the Eagles. light

Here are four highlights from Zach Ertz’s final presser with the Eagles.

It isn’t often that you’ll see a legend get traded from the only team that he’s ever known, especially this far into their career, and then ASK to be interviewed by the local media. That’s exactly what Zach Ertz did though, and after an emotional 17 minutes or so, it was hard not to love the guy even more.

Here are several of the highlights:

Ertz on ‘going back home’:

"One of the things that kind of irked me the past couple (of) days is when this was coming about and people started to know about it, well, you know you’re going back home, you’re going back to California, Julie’s home. This is home. Philadelphia is home. And that was tough. Just to kind of articulate that to people that I love this place. I’ve said it all along, and it’s a great opportunity to be here and I loved it here. I did the best I could every day and I can leave knowing that, and this isn’t going to be the last you’ll see of me here in this city."

Words like those shouldn’t surprise anyone. We’ve seen Zach Ertz literally reduced to tears when discussing his love for the City of Brotherly Love, but he did go to Stanford right? That’s a long way from Villanova or Temple! Here’s when 86 realized home is where the heart is:

"Obviously, coming from California, the first year was tough. We played against Detroit in a snowstorm and I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I can do this.’ California, you don’t even see snow where I lived… But, I think, probably after the third year when I knew I was going to be here for a while and we really knew that this was going to be a place that we wanted to continue to pour into and just the love that I felt each and every Sunday playing here… Winning a Super Bowl here, doing everything we did off the field here. It’s just the people. That’s the toughest part. Leaving the people. Leaving the fans. I played with Jason Kelce for nine years. So that’s the toughest part."

Zach Ertz on those zany Eagles fans (you had to know that this was coming):

"I think obviously when I was young, I think a lot of young players struggle with this. You’re told for so long how good you are. In high school, coming out, you’re typically a pretty good player, you’re a big-time recruit, you have college coaches telling you how good you are… It’s okay to be told that you’re not playing great. It’s okay to be told that you need to be better, and in reality, no one should have to tell you that as a professional athlete."

Self-awareness… What a concept… Here’s more from 86 on those Eagles fans…

"(Eagles fans) love their team, they love the Eagles, they love their players. This city loves their players. And they want to see us succeed as much if not more than we want to succeed. And so for me, it’s what I loved about this place. People were honest. They’re blunt. They don’t care about you apologizing about a game on social media if you played poorly. They want to see you put in the work Monday through Saturday to get better for Sunday and for me that’s why I think I resonated in this city because all I knew was how to work hard and that’s why I love this place."

Zach Ertz is an Eagles for life. He wasn’t a free-agent acquisition. He didn’t come here after a trade. He wasn’t poached from some other team’s practice squad. Zach Ertz was homegrown, and even though seeing him in that red Cardinals jersey will be strange, much like it was strange to see Brian Dawkins in Denver, he’ll be back at some point.

86’s statements say it all:

"It’s an honor. This organization stands for so much. Not only as players but really in this community. It’s a representation of the blue collar work ethic that this city represents. It will be an honor one day to have that opportunity… I love this game and I think that’s what a Philadelphia Eagle is all about. Showing up all the time, doing your best, living with the results, and then improving from there. Obviously, my goal is to be in the Hall of Fame and hopefully this move to Arizona will continue to help me on that. But it truly is an honor to do that and I can’t wait to come back and celebrate that one day with all you guys."

That won’t be a problem at all Mr. Ertz. You’re a shoo-in for the Eagles Hall of Fame. Something tells us your bust will end up in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day as well.