What to Know
- Zach Ertz's impressive run with the Philadelphia Eagles, which includes a near franchise record for receptions, three Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl win, has come to an end.
- The Eagles sent the veteran tight end to the Arizona Cardinals on Friday for cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick.
- Ertz had four receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown during Thursday night’s 28-22 loss to Tampa Bay. He was emotional after the game knowing that a trade was likely eminent.
The Eagles on Friday morning finally traded away one of their all-time great players.
Zach Ertz is now an Arizona Cardinal.
The Eagles traded the 30-year-old tight end for cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick.
"Thanks for everything," he said to the city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans in a rare news conference after the deal. The Eagles and their fans gave thanks right back.
Ertz on Thursday night played the final game of his Eagles career at Lincoln Financial Field and was noticeably emotional as he left the field. He was also one of the captains sent out for the coin toss before the game.
Ertz said Friday that he knew it was likely his last home game with the Eagles.
"I enjoyed my last game last night knowing I wasn't going to be here," he said.
"I was crying in my locker for 30 minutes last night I felt bad because the guys didn't know, but I couldn't help it."
The emotions continued to flow Friday. Ertz grew emotional as he talked about playing in Philadelphia and about its passionate fans.
"What a journey it's been, what an amazing journey."
"One of the things that kinda irked me the past couple of days ... when people started to know about it, they were like, well you're going home, California's home, Julie's home," he said. "This is home."
"Just the love that I felt each and every Sunday here ... winning a Super Bowl here," Ertz said. "That's the toughest part. leaving the people, leaving these fans.
"I truly love it here. I truly appreciate all you guys. We've had some great times, we've had some low times. But I know I did my best. And I think at the end of the day I can live with that walking out of here today. It's going to be tough. But it's been a blast."
Ertz finishes his Eagles career with 579 catches for 6,267 yards and 38 touchdowns. He will fall just shy of Harold Carmichael’s franchise receptions record of 589.
Ertz's impact on and off the field wasn't lost on Eagles brass.
“He will always be a member of the Eagles family, not only because of what he accomplished on the field, but also because of the wonderful person, dedicated leader, and exemplary role model that he was for nine seasons in Philadelphia," Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said.
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General Manager Howie Roseman -- who pulled the trigger on the trade -- said he expects Ertz to one day be enshrined in the Eagles Hall of Fame. "Some of the most iconic moments in the history of this franchise were from Zach."
This trade ends what has been a long saga between the Eagles and Ertz.
Before the 2020 season, Ertz and the Eagles were unable to reach terms on a long-term contract extension, which created some animosity between the two sides. Then he had a down year in 2020 and said a tearful goodbye in January.
All offseason, it looked like Ertz was going to get traded but eventually, he showed up to training camp and played in six games for the Eagles this season.
“This is the place I want to be,” Ertz said on Sept. 1. “This is the place I want to retire.”
Ultimately, Ertz won’t get to play his entire career in Philly.
But he leaves behind an impressive legacy. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls, finishes second all-time in career receptions and, oh yeah, he caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LII.
Ertz was a second-round pick (35th overall) out of Stanford back in 2013. He learned under Brent Celek and eventually became the same type of mentor for 2018 second-round pick Dallas Goedert.
With Ertz gone, the Eagles will likely prioritize getting an extension for Goedert, who is in a contract year and is still thought of as an ascending player in the organization.