Ertz: ‘I want to be here for my entire career’


Eagles tight end Zach Ertz can claim to one thing no other Eagle has at the moment: job security.

Ertz signed a five-year, $42.5 million extension on Monday that will keep him with the Eagles through 2021, tied for the longest contract on the team at the moment with Byron Maxwell and Jason Kelce.

"First and foremost, I want to thank Howie [Roseman] and Mr. Lurie," Ertz said at a press conference on Monday afternoon. "They had faith in me three years ago to bring me to Philadelphia and I’m extremely thankful for that and I’m extremely thankful for them allowing me to be here six more years."

Ertz now takes his place as a key member of the Eagles moving forward under new coach Doug Pederson, an opportunity he is embracing.

"This was the best deal at the right time that made sense for me," Ertz said. "I never played the game for money. I pride myself on being the best tight end that I can possibly be. I think this deal signifies that. I’m really happy with the deal. I want to be in Philadelphia and whatever price that took, that’s what I wanted to do. I want to be here for a long time. I want to be here for my entire career."

In a time when so many athletes are constantly changing teams in pursuit of more money or better opportunities, Ertz is staying true to the Eagles and credits a couple of role models in his life in helping aid in the decision.

"When I look over all the athletes that I idolized, Kobe Bryant and Jason Witten are two that I’ve looked up to since I was a young kid," Ertz said. "Those two guys stayed in their cities throughout their entire careers. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave here in Philadelphia. When people think of great tight ends in Philly, I want to be the guy they think of."

There will be plenty of changes in Philadelphia next season, as evident by this offseason. Ertz will be playing for a new head coach after Chip Kelly was fired and Doug Pederson was brought in. Ertz was drafted in 2013 and his rookie season was Kelly's first on the Eagles sideline.

In addition, there is no telling how the rest of the roster will look come July. One player in question is Ertz partner Brent Celek, who ironically turned 31 on Monday. There is some thought that the Eagles could move on from Celek this offseason. 

Another position in question is quarterback. Ertz and Sam Bradford particularly hit it off in the final four weeks of the season, when Ertz nearly doubled his season totals. Ertz understands he has no control in who is on the roster next season, but offered some thoughts on Bradford and the possibility of his return.

"I think he’s excited. He wants to be in Philadelphia," Ertz said. "I want to play with Sam. Ultimately that’s not my decision, but I think the chemistry some of the guys developed goes a long way. I know a lot of guys would love to have Sam back."

One of the things that is staying the same for Ertz is his positional coach. One of the coaches retained by the Eagles was tight end coach Justin Peelle.

"I’m extremely glad that coach Peelle is back," Ertz said. "My game has grown in huge strides over the past few years and he’s pushed me to be a better player. I owe a lot of this to him."

In a new chapter for the Eagles, Ertz stands as a face of the franchise, a great responsibility that he feels he is ready to tackle as the team tries to build back into a Super Bowl contender.

"Growing up I never would have expected to be the face of a franchise," Ertz said. "But at the same time I think the work that I’ve put in has put me in this situation. It comes with a lot of responsibility. This franchise has been successful for a lot of years and I want to be successful for a lot of years. I think everyone is excited for the next couple years."

You can watch Ertz's press conference in its entirety below.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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