September 13, 2020
Well, this isn't exactly what you want to be hearing a few hours before your team kicks off its season.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Eagles veteran got into a heated discussion with general manager Howie Roseman had a heated discussion after practice at the NovaCare Complex, in full view of several teammates.
“Late after one practice this week, Zach Ertz and general manager Howie Roseman got into it,” Rapoport said on NFL Network on Sunday morning, later adding on Twitter that owner Jeffrey Lurie was also present. “[It was] a very heated discussion, I’m told, one that was witnessed by several players. An airing of grievances of sorts, with some of that frustration coming right out into the open. Now these two men are professionals and certainly they can focus on their jobs, but obviously this makes Zach Ertz's future in Philly even more up in the air.”
There was no clarification of when exactly this happened, whether it was before Ertz's comments this week expressing his frustration over his current contract situation or after.
If it was before, perhaps this confrontation is what caused Ertz to speak out, saying he wants to play his whole career in Philly but that he isn't sure "if that feeling is mutual." If it was after, perhaps part of the reason Roseman was so heated was because of what Ertz said to the media about the team's desire (or lack thereof) to keep him.
Either way, it's not a great situation for the Eagles.
Late last week, Rapoport reported that the Eagles latest offer to Ertz, whose current contract runs through the 2021 season, was so low that it caused the Pro Bowl tight end to walk away from negotiations. It reportedly included less annual money than Austin Hooper's $11 million per year and came after the team reportedly offered him an in-season extension last year that would've paid him about $12 million per year.
Then, on Thursday, Ertz spoke out.
"I think you guys know me over the years. I'm kind of an emotional guy when it comes to football," Ertz told reporters on Thursday. "I kind of play with my heart as much as I can. Obviously it's been frustrating at times, it's been difficult. I said all along I want to be here for the long run. I don't know for sure and if that feeling is mutual, but I know I'm going play this year like it is my last year, and I'm gonna leave everything I possibly have in the tank for this team and the city.
"It's what this city deserves, nothing less. So I'm going into this year that I'm gonna leave it all out there, whatever happens happens. I'll let the details be with my agent and Howie [Roseman]. But I'm going to do everything I can to give the city what it deserves, and that's everything I possibly have even if it means playing with that lacerated kidney. Whatever it takes to win football games and do whatever I can to kind of leave a mark on this team and the city."
Ertz is likely looking for a deal that will pay him closer to the other two top tight ends who recently got contract extensions, George Kittle of the 49ers and Travis Kelce of the Chiefs — and according to our own Jimmy Kempski, Ertz's side should actually be looking to best Kelce's team-friendly deal.
With the season about to kick-off, however, Ertz says he's turned his attention back to football.
"Everyone's got their side of the story... I don't get into the exact details but I don't think it should be that hard to get a deal done right now but at the same time another season is starting," Ertz told reporters, adding that he "never thought of playing in another city" because Philly is home. "I can't really focus on that. During training camp it kinda got the best of me a day or two and I really just had to talk to a couple people and kind of reset my mind, leaned into my faith that I can't really control this situation and I'm gonna trust in the Lord understanding whether it's gonna be Philly, hopefully — I want to be here — or wherever it is.
"But at the same time, I can't control that. I'm gonna do whatever I can to help the team, and I cannot be more excited going into this year, I've never felt better going into a football season."
And prior to the opener in Washington, he seemed ready to go.
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