There’s no question that Zach Ertz wants to play football in Philadelphia, it just depends on if the Eagles want him back or not.
The star tight end is under contract through the 2021 season with a club opt-out clause available the following year. But the rumor mill has swirled in recent weeks as the Eagles continued to nosedive to a 4-11-1 finish for the 2020 season, suggesting that Ertz is on his way out of Philadelphia via trade.
An emotional Ertz seemed as though he wanted no part of that on Monday when speaking with the media after the Eagles’ embarrassing 20-14 Sunday-night loss to the Washington Football Team.
“The foundation that we have here in Philadelphia has been a pleasure,” Ertz said while fighting back tears. “I think we’re just getting started with that [in] Philly. I think this city is the best city to play for and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
“This city means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family and I’m thankful.”
Ertz and his wife, U.S. women’s national team soccer star, Julie, are sporting royalty in Philadelphia. He’s spent the last eight seasons with the Eagles ever since he was drafted out of Stanford by them in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Injuries limited his 2020 season to just 11 games where he caught 36 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown — his lowest outputs since his rookie season.
Ertz is one of the greatest tight ends in franchise history, ranking first with 561 receptions for 6,078 yards, which is behind only Pete Retzlaff. Among all receivers in Eagles history, Ertz ranks second in receptions, fifth in yards, and seventh in touchdowns.
“I’m not the greatest Eagle by any means,” Ertz said. “But just handling this city I would say… city’s tough. But they’re honest. It’s not a city that cares about how you feel you did. Whether you had a great day or 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… I think this city is the best city you could play for and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
That sounds awfully close to a goodbye by most standards.