Philadelphia Eagles News

An emotional Zach Ertz reflects on his Eagles tenure

The clock struck zero on a misty night at Lincoln Financial Field and the curtain had finally fallen on a 2020 NFL regular season filled with disappointment for the Eagles.

But as the Eagles left the field and entered an offseason of ambiguity that usually follows a four-win campaign, one player sat alone on the bench. That player was tight end Zach Ertz.

For Ertz, his moment of solitude was a chance to reflect on days gone by, but also a chance to ponder what comes next, as Sunday night's game could have been his last in an Eagles uniform.

"It was a little tough," Ertz admitted to reporters Monday. "You never when your time is going to be up anywhere."

Time will tell if the 20-14 loss to the Washington Football Team will indeed be Ertz's final time donning midnight green. Regardless, Ertz has made the absolute most of his eight seasons in Philadelphia on and off the field. From helping the team win its first Super Bowl Championship to a slew of philanthropic work through the Ertz Family Foundation, Ertz will leave a legacy in Philadelphia everyone should be proud of.

And as much as Eagles Everywhere love Ertz and his contributions to the organization, Ertz made it clear Monday that the feeling is certainly mutual.

"My time in Philadelphia has been the experience I've ever had," he said.

"There's nothing I would change with anything honestly," he added. "It's been such an enjoyment."

The joy Ertz is referring to is him catching 561 passes in an Eagles uniform, only 28 shy of Harold Carmichael's franchise record of 589, and gaining 6,078 receiving yards, good enough for fifth most in franchise history.

It's him breaking the NFL's single-season receptions by a tight end mark in 2018. It's him catching the game-winning touchdown pass during the franchise's Super Bowl LII triumph.

"(If) you want to play in the city, you got to be tough, you got to be mentally tough, and you got to be surrounded by great people," he said. "I think that's what happened here with me. I was surrounded by a lot of great people that truly cared about me, truly cared about my success. That's what I'm a product of. I'm a product of people pouring themselves into me."

His joy extends off the field in the form of the Ertz Family Foundation, which he and his wife/soccer star Julie Ertz launched in 2018 to help people all over the world. To help people in Philadelphia, the foundation launched the "City of Love Fund," which provides grants to local charities that focus on "youth education, sports, and family enrichment," according to the foundation's website.

From the time he was drafted in 2013, Ertz embraced the city and Eagles fans everywhere. In return, they showed him nothing but love – even if sometimes it was of the tougher variety. Those same fans saw the maturation of a bright-eyed rookie to a veteran player who was fully invested in the organization and the global community that rooted for it. That level of investment revealed itself Monday when Ertz was overcome with emotion by the end of his time with the media.

"The city's tough, but they're honest," he said. "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. Whenever I didn't play well enough, I just wanted to go out there and work because that was the only thing I knew that I could do to kind of flush the system and get me on to the next day."

"The foundation that we have here in Philadelphia has been a pleasure. It's tough ... I think we're really just getting started with that in Philly," he added while wiping tears from his face.

"I think this city is the best city to play for and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The city means a lot to me, it means a lot to my family, and I'm thankful."

No matter what the future holds, Eagles Everywhere are also thankful.

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