Eagles

Eagles' Nate Sudfeld confident he'll be back sooner than later

Eagles' Nate Sudfeld confident he'll be back sooner than later

There was bad news. It was quickly overshadowed by good news.

Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld has a broken wrist and will be sidelined for a while.

But he knows it could have been a lot worse.

I’m really excited that it’s not a long-term injury,” Sudfeld said after practice Saturday. “Thank God it’s not my right (throwing) hand, because you never know what complications could come with using it and throwing every play. If I could pick an injury it would probably be my left wrist or something like that, so I’m very thankful and trying to see the silver lining.

Sudfeld broke his wrist during the Eagles’ preseason game against the Titans Thursday night, underwent surgery Friday morning and was already talking Saturday morning about getting back to work.

He said a plate and some screws were inserted into his wrist during the procedure Friday.

Sudfeld got hurt with 26 seconds left in the first half when he was hit late by Titans defensive tackle Isaiah Mack and instinctively stuck his hand out before he hit the ground to brace himself.

He knew immediately that there was something seriously wrong.

It felt a little weird,” he said. “My hand was a little numb. I was moving my fingers and the break was right under my wristband, so I stood there for a second and I was moving my fingers and I looked down and my wristband was kind of crooked and I was like, ergggghhhh, that’s probably not good, so I just ran off the field. I knew pretty quickly, but I was fortunate I was able to get surgery early the next morning and I feel good that it’s back in place and I’m on the road to recovery.

Sudfeld is expected to miss somewhere around six to eight weeks, so he should be back about a month into the regular season.

Of course, Sudfeld’s injury is especially significant because Carson Wentz has suffered season-ending injuries in each of the last two seasons.

If Wentz stays healthy, this injury will be quickly forgotten.

Sudfeld played well before he got hurt, going 10 for 18 for 177 yards and a 75-yard TD pass to Marken Michel.

It’s definitely disappointing because I felt like I was getting into a rhythm and I was doing a lot of things I wanted to do and I felt like as a team we were getting better and the offense, we were putting some plays together,” he said. “You play football to play in those games. You’re not doing it to practice all year, even though I do like that. So that is disappointing, but all things considered I’m really fortunate and blessed it was only a left wrist and surgery is done. I’m fixed but I’m not healed.

Sudfeld said he can’t do much of anything for a week to make sure the surgery wound heals.

But as soon as he gets the green light, he’ll start working out so he’s ready to go as soon as he’s cleared.

“I’m hoping really soon to be able to run and keep working on my legs and my right arm and hopefully throw here real soon,” he said. “I’m probably jumping the gun, but I just want to be back as quick as I can so trying to do everything I can do to be ready.”

Sudfeld said he slept only 10 minutes Thursday night and about three hours Friday night because he has to keep his left arm elevated while he’s in bed.

A lot of Eagles fans will be experiencing sleepless nights until he gets back.

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Eagles waive DT Bruce Hector and DB Prince Smith

Eagles waive DT Bruce Hector and DB Prince Smith

The Eagles on Friday released two players, including a defensive tackle who played in 11 games over the last two years and a Philadelphia native trying to make the team as an undrafted rookie.

The moves, along with the additions of Vinny Curry and Marcus Green, leave the roster right at the 80-man training camp limit.

The team released defensive tackle Bruce Hector and cornerback Prince Smith, an undrafted rookie who played at New Hampshire.

Hector originally made the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent out of South Florida in 2018. He bounced up and down between the active roster and the practice squad three times and played in eight games, with 82 defensive snaps and 19 more on special teams. 

Hector, 25, was with the team in last year’s preseason but was traded on Aug. 22 to the Cards in exchange for safety Rudy Ford. But when the Cards released him nine days later, he rejoined the Eagles on Sept. 1 on the practice squad. 

He had two more stints on the practice squad and two on the active roster last year, playing 53 defensive snaps and 20 special teams snaps in three games. He was active for the Seattle playoff game and got five defensive snaps and seven on special teams.

After cutting ties with Hector, the Eagles have six defensive tackles remaining on the roster - Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway and Anthony Rush, who were all with the team last year, Steelers free agent Javon Hargrave and undrafted rookie Raequan Williams.

Smith grew up in Philadelphia and played high school football at Imhotep Institute Charter in West Oak Lane. He signed with the Eagles on April 30, just after the draft.

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How does Zach Ertz rank himself compared to Kittle and Kelce?

How does Zach Ertz rank himself compared to Kittle and Kelce?

His Madden rating dropped. His ranking among the top 100 NFL players plunged. He didn’t make all-pro. He caught 28 fewer passes than a year before.
 
Zach Ertz, who has more catches than any tight end in NFL history after seven seasons, is largely seen as No. 3 in the league these days behind George Kittle and Travis Kelce. 
 
Ertz laughs about all of it, and if there’s a sense he’s declining as a player, he sure doesn’t share it. Neither do the numbers.
 
“I do consider myself in that upper echelon of guys, in that same tier with all those guys,” he said on a Zoom call Friday. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think a lot of guys in this building feel the same way about me. I’m never in the business of comparing people. I think all three of us are at the top of our games, and I think we’re all perfect in the offense that we play in, honestly. I think we all have unique skill sets. We’re all very different, with some similarities. But overall I don’t think my game is any less than any of their games.”
 
Kelce is an incredible down-field threat. Kittle is a remarkable blocker. But Ertz just keeps putting together Pro Bowl season after Pro Bowl season.
 
And in the two years that Kelce, Ertz and Kittle have all been regular starting tight ends, Ertz has more catches than either of them.
 
You can argue that Kittle or Kelce is the best tight end in football, but you can’t argue with Ertz’s seven-year body of work.

It's unprecedented.
 
It includes the biggest 4th-down conversion in Super Bowl history, a 4th-quarter game-winning catch in the Super Bowl, an NFL-record 116 catches in 2018. 
 
He’s one of only four tight ends with six straight 700-yard seasons and one of only three with five straight 70-catch seasons.
 
He’s not even 30 yet, but he’s already 13th in NFL history among tight ends with 525 catches.
 
Just 68 catches out of 8th.
 
“The goal when I was a rookie was to (be) in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “I sat with my trainer growing up training for the combine and he said, ‘What are your goals when you get into the NFL?’ And I said, ‘I want to be a 1st-round draft pick and I want to go to the Hall of Fame.’ Unfortunately, I was not a 1st-round draft pick - three picks later - but I came to the best situation for me here in Philly. But the Hall of Fame goal is always something that I’ve strived for.”
 
Every eligible tight end that’s caught 600 passes is in the Hall of Fame. 
 
Ertz is 75 short, and he’s 29.
 
Four more seasons averaging 75 catches puts him behind only Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez. Pending what Kelce does.
 
“You talk about accomplishments, you talk about progress, it’s never something in my opinion you look at as you’re playing,” Ertz said. “It’s always the next season. How can you become a better football  player, how can I become a better teammate? Even when we won the Super Bowl, that next offseason my mentality didn’t change and I broke the record for catches. My mentality didn’t change. It’s always, ‘How can I be better this year than I was last year?’"
 
“I feel the best I ever have going into Year 8. I don’t think I’m slowing down by any means. Doug and my tight ends coach (Jason Peelle) said last year was my best year as a pro that they’ve seen. So overall I’m excited with where I’m at. The end goal will never change. I’m just fortunate and blessed to even have my name in those conversations this early in my career.”
 
What about his contract?
 
Ertz has two years left at $6.6 million this year and $8.25 million next year. What if the Eagles get into cap trouble? What if Dallas Goedert continues to establish himself as an NFL top-10 tight end? What if Kittle’s forthcoming deal redefines tight end salaries?
 
Who knows what the future holds, but Ertz is clear about one thing.
 
“From the moment I got here as a rookie … my goal was to be like Kobe Bryant or Jason Witten, play for one organization their entire careers,” he said. “I’ve made that known. I’ll let my agent and Howie (Roseman) handle the rest, but I know for sure I want to be here the rest of my career.”

Is he Kittle? Nope.

Is he Kelce? Nah.

But he's Zach Ertz, and that should be good enough for every Eagles fan.

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