Zach Ertz missing Brent Celek as he takes his leadership role

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Zach Ertz missing Brent Celek as he takes his leadership role

There was a noticeable difference in the NovaCare Complex when Zach Ertz arrived on Monday for the first day of the Eagles’ offseason workout program. 

No Brent Celek. 

Celek, the 11-year pro, was cut earlier this offseason after a tremendous career with the Eagles. For the first time in Ertz’s six-year career, Celek won’t be around. 

And weirdly, Ertz will now assume Celek’s old role as the veteran leader in the Eagles’ tight end room. 

“It’s tough, obviously,” Ertz said on Tuesday. “He was the guy that when they brought me in, he was the guy, the veteran tight end in Philadelphia. He was the guy everyone knew about. And he didn’t treat me as a guy who was a competitor to him; he treated me as the guy who could help him further his career, where he didn’t have to take every snap. So it’s tough. That guy has been with me from the beginning, pretty much taught me how to be a pro in Philadelphia. 

“Even a couple years back, when the playing time began to increase in my way, he let me kind of take on a leadership role. He wasn’t overbearing by any means. He kind of let me lead in my own way. Even though he was the leader of the room, per se, he let me lead and slowly earn more of a leadership role in our room. He kind of set me up for this moment. I owe a lot of my success to Brent, the way he was a dominant blocking tight end, I was able to learn from that for a lot of years. I’m extremely thankful for him.”

While Ertz learned how to be a pro from Celek, he always tried to become a top-notch tight end like the Cowboys’ Jason Witten. He’s long admired his game. While some would argue Ertz finally had a breakout season in 2017, his last three years have been elite. Since 2015, he has 227 catches for 2,493 yards and 14 touchdowns. The only other TEs to put up those numbers or better over that span are Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker. And in 2017, Ertz did something Celek never did: he made a Pro Bowl. 

Celek was released and Trey Burton signed a lucrative deal to become the top tight end in Chicago, so Ertz is the only player left from last year’s tight end room. The Eagles brought in Richard Rodgers as a free agent and have a few younger prospects already on the expanded roster, but the Eagles’ brass has commented about how good of a tight end draft this is, so it would make sense if they add one later this month. 

If the Eagles do draft a tight end, the 27-year-old Ertz is going to try to be a strong veteran presence for the young player … kind of like what Celek was for him. 

“I told the guys the other day, I’m here to help however I can, whether that be talking football or just allowing them to watch how I approach things,” Ertz said. “I kind of was able to learn from Brent how to treat young tight ends coming in, young players coming in, so that’s one of the things that he kind of told me as he was leaving: that I kind of set the blueprint for your success. He didn’t say that verbally, but that’s how I took it. I want to repeat that for whoever comes in.”

Celek is gone, but through Ertz, his impact is still going to be felt in the NovaCare Complex for years to come. 

Carson Wentz 'happy' with recovery, still eyeing Week 1

Carson Wentz 'happy' with recovery, still eyeing Week 1

Now four months removed from his ACL and LCL tear and subsequent surgery, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is pleased with his rehabilitation. 

Wentz, speaking on Tuesday for the first time publicly since Super Bowl week, said he’s begun the “running progression” portion of his rehab and his goal is still to be ready for Week 1 of the 2018 season. He doesn’t think he needs to play in the preseason. 

“I’m feeling good with where I’m at and just trying to stay the course,” Wentz said. “Like I said late last season, it’s such a fluid process, it’s so hard to put a timeframe and a timetable on these things. I wish I knew as well. Things are going well and I’m happy with where I’m at.”

A few weeks ago, Wentz sent out a video on social media of him throwing and adding conditioning to his recovery is obviously a good sign. Wentz’s comments on Tuesday reflect what head coach Doug Pederson said last month, that Pederson was “encouraged” by Wentz’s progress. 

Wentz, 25, still declined to go into specifics about a timetable for his return, but did stress the importance of taking things slowly and not trying to return too quickly. 

“It’s part of it. It’s part of the process,” Wentz said. “If something feels really good, I’m like, 'Let’s do it.’ But you’ve just got to stay the course. You’ve seen the horror stories of people coming back too soon and those things. I can assure you that I’ll be smart about it.”

While Wentz’s athleticism made him an MVP candidate last season, there have been plenty of people who would prefer he change his style of play to preserve his body more. While Wentz said he’ll continue to learn how to protect his body, he’s not going to change his style. He said that emphatically on Tuesday. 

Even if Wentz does return for Week 1, there seems to be a decent chance that he might be limited some in terms of his mobility and would then have to alter his style to become more of a pocket passer. Wentz didn’t entertain that thought on Tuesday afternoon. 

“I guess we’ll see when the time comes,” he said. “I think I’ll be fine.” 

Throughout the last few months, while he hasn’t been able to work on his conditioning, Wentz has been in the weight room, working on his strength by lifting and seated throwing. His upper body is stronger these days. 

The closest Wentz has come to discussing a timetable is by now saying twice that his goal is to be ready for Week 1. Everyone else can play the timetable game, but Wentz tries to avoid it. 

“I really try not to, honestly,” Wentz said. “I just try to take it one day at a time. Some days that’s easier said than done. You look at the big picture at times, but right now I’m not going to rush it, I’m going to be smart, I’m going to do everything I can to get back out there and take it one day at a time.” 

Former Eagles CB Daryl Worley facing 6 criminal charges

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Former Eagles CB Daryl Worley facing 6 criminal charges

Former Eagles cornerback Daryl Worley is facing six separate criminal charges for an incident that had him arrested on Sunday morning and subsequently cut from the team. 

Worley, who was arrested early Sunday morning near the Eagles’ NovaCare Complex, is being charged with his first DUI, carrying an unlicensed firearm, carrying a firearm in public, possession of an instrument of crime with intent, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to court records. 

The 23-year-old posted 10 percent of his $25,000 bail to be released, but is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on May 1. Despite growing up in North Philadelphia, Worley was listed with an address in Swedesboro, N.J. 

According to reports, Worley became combative after he was found passed out in South Philly and needed to be tased by an officer. 

The Eagles got Worley as the return in the Torrey Smith trade, but cut him less than 12 hours after he was arrested on Sunday morning. With a stable of other young corners, the Eagles obviously deemed Worley expendable. 

Cutting Worley, took his $670,000 cap hit off the Eagles’ books for 2018. Worley, meanwhile, lost a job that was set to pay him a base salary of $650,000 this season if he made the team out of training camp. 

While Worley is now awaiting his next court hearing, the Eagles began their offseason workout schedule on Monday without him. Worley officially spent just one month and one day as an Eagle.