Photo credit: MARK J. REBILAS, USA TODAY SPORTS
After Sunday's regular-season finale to the Washington Football Team, Zach Ertz took time to himself and was the last man off the field. It appeared that Ertz was taking one last opportunity to soak up Lincoln Financial Field before the offseason after what could have been his final ever Eagles game. An hour later he, Carson Wentz and Jason Kelce went to the field together for a few hours. It could be the last time we see all three in midnight green together, and they were taking that opportunity to socialise one final time.
Then came Monday's exit interviews with the media and Ertz was one of the few that bit the bullet and spoke to them. Having kept his composure till the very end, the Eagles tight end broke down in tears. It came through being asked about the legacy he wanted to leave in the city; the thought of leaving the team hit him hard. He realises that his time is coming to an end here, and for that, I wanted to write this article to say thank you to one of the most consistent players this franchise has ever had.
Ertz was a second-round pick in 2013, and ever since stepping on the field, he has had a role in gaining records and accolades for himself and the team. His first-ever touchdown also came during a day where NFL history was made. He caught one of the seven touchdown passes from Nick Foles' record-setting day as the Eagles defeated the Raiders 49-20. Ertz made an impact in his first season in the league assisting Philadelphia to an NFC East title.
Having sat behind Brent Celek for the first three years of his career, Ertz would become the Philadelphia's number one tight end for the 2016 season. That was the year he and Carson Wentz's famous relationship began, and since that moment it propelled him as a playmaker. In 2016 he had 816 yards and four touchdowns, then in 2017, he had a similar season with 824 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns.
However, his greatest moments of the 2017 season would not come until Super Bowl 52. The 30-year-old made two of the biggest receptions in Eagles history as he played a huge part in ensuring the franchises first-ever Super Bowl. Ertz's vital conversion on the fourth down to keep a drive alive, whilst also diving into the end zone to give the Eagles the lead will always remain fresh in the minds of the fanbase. Without those two grabs, the Eagles are still ringless.
In 2018, Ertz would break the single-season record for receptions by a tight end with 116 catches. He also posted his record high for receiving yards with 1163 and eight touchdowns as it proved to be a career year for him. He had another solid year in 2019 as he scored two vital touchdowns against the New York Giants in Week 14 to help the Eagles into the playoffs.
Although this season has been the least productive of his career, it is easy to excuse it considering the entire team has been a shambles. The 2020 season will not be Ertz's lasting legacy in this city. For being a model professional since walking through the door, always being on the field giving 100%, making big play after big play and doing vital work in the community through the Ertz Family Foundation. That is what he will be remembered for.
This city owes a lot to Zach Ertz.
He helped bring this city it's first-ever Super Bowl, made huge strides in the community with his charity work and made Philly his home. If this happens to be his final moments in Philadelphia, then thank you. You will forever be an Eagles legend, and we will support you on your future endeavours. That is a credit to the sort of man Ertz is. He will be one of those players that are discussed in the 'Philadelphia sportsmen that never has to buy a beer again in the city' debates. Zach Ertz is a legend in this city, and we as a fan base will be forever thankful for everything you have done and will continue to do for Philadelphia.
Thank you, Zach, Philadelphia will always love you.