Zach Ertz has settled nicely into Arizona life.
He’s found some places to take his wife, U.S. women’s national soccer team member Julie, on date nights and there’s his son Madden, born on Aug. 11, that has given him a new perspective on things.
Philadelphia is never far from his mind, though. So much so, that he agreed to do a virtual call with Eagles media on Monday afternoon.
“I was there for 8½ years, 9 years essentially,” he said. “And I really felt that we grew up there, Julie and I in particular. We came there as 22-year-old kids essentially, and gave everything we had to the city, and we felt that love and passion reciprocated each and every day.
“We felt such a connection to the fans, to the communities. You can’t really put it into words what that city means to us to this day. It will always have a special place in our hearts even though we’re in Arizona now.”
For the first time, though, Ertz will play against the Eagles after nine years playing for them and having an integral role in helping deliver the franchise its first Super Bowl championship five years ago.
The new Eagles, the ones who are the last undefeated team left in the NFL, will put their 4-0 record on the line in Arizona on Sunday against Ertz’s new team, the Cardinals.
Ertz has played 15 games with the Cardinals since being traded last October and has 78 catches for 755 yards and five touchdowns. Clearly, there’s plenty left in the tank for the soon-to-be 32-year-old tight end.
He remains close with other 30-somethings on the Eagles roster, such as Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Lane Johnson.
Ertz said he hasn’t dived too deeply into film study on the Eagles and why they sit atop the NFC East, but you know he knows what’s going on.
“The city is extremely excited about the team,” he said. “I’m not surprised by any means. They’ve got a lot of talented players, a lot of guys that have played a lot of football. And the culture was set a long time ago. I know Kelce is holding guys to a certain standard.
“I know Fletch and BG are doing the same. So those are guys that are building blocks within that organization for a long time. And the culture precedes everything else. So, for me, I’m not surprised.”
Jalen Hurts isn’t surprising him, either.
The two were teammates for about a year-and-a-half but Hurts rode the bench until Carson Wentz took Hurts’ place on the bench for the final four games of 2020.
“I know Jalen is one of the hardest-working players that I have ever been around,” said Ertz. “And even though we didn’t play together for a long time, we were able to have fun throwing after practice, throwing after training camp practices, just working on our craft together for that short amount of time.
"I’m not surprised by the success that he’s having.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.