Eagles

'He's found his peace:' An emotional Ertz reflects on Luck's retirement

'He's found his peace:' An emotional Ertz reflects on Luck's retirement

Back in 2010, Zach Ertz was a sophomore at Stanford and Andrew Luck was a hot-shot All-America quarterback as a junior.

They were very close. Still are. And Ertz remembers all the hype that was swirling around Luck.

And how he handled it.

We’d be in the locker room and there’d be stuff on the TVs about him all the time because of all the hype about whether he was going to win the Heisman or come out early, and he would literally go up to the TVs and turn them off,” Ertz said. “Because it was never about him. He just wanted it to be about the team. That’s just so Andrew. He was always team-oriented. He never really cared about himself as an individual or how he was viewed from the outside.

Ertz and Luck played together three years at Stanford and remain best friends.

Even so, Ertz was blind-sided when he was watching the Miami-Florida game Saturday night and saw on the crawl on the bottom of the screen that Luck was retiring.

He watched the 29-year-old Luck at a hastily called press conference talk about how years of injuries had sapped him of his love for the game and how he could no longer deal with the endless cycle of injuries and rehab.

Saw a very emotional Andrew,” Ertz said. “It was emotional watching it for me knowing him so personally and knowing how much he loves the game of football. … I’m proud of him, for sure. It’s not an easy decision to make, but this game is tough as it is, and it’s impossible to play if you’re 50 percent in and 50 percent out. It’s not good for yourself, it’s not good for your team. At the end of the day, I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him. It feels like he’s at peace with this whole thing, and that’s all I care about.

If Luck is indeed finished, he goes down as the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history to retire before his 30th birthday.

He went 53-33 with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions and made four Pro Bowls in six seasons with the Colts.

The injuries?

Colts writer Zak Keefer of the Athletic has the list:

Ertz knows what Luck has been going through and understands as well as anybody how difficult it’s been for him.

You want to be able to be at your best each and every day and there are times when your body just doesn’t allow it,” Ertz said. “It’s tough not only physically, but I think mentally the toll is even moreso, because mentally you feel so capable that you’re able to play at a high level and sometimes your body just doesn’t let you do that. There’s probably going to be more guys retiring early than later. It’s always better to leave a play too early than a play too late in this game because there’s so much risk that comes along with this sport.

Ertz spoke for quite a while before practice Sunday about Luck, who he first met on his recruiting trip to Palo Alto back in 2008.

This story sheds some serious insight into both of them:

In the offseason, 6 a.m. workouts would be tight ends and quarterbacks always competing against each other, and with me and Andrew off the field it was very relaxed and supportive, but in those situations we were extremely competitive with each other. There would be one drill where someone would let one person win and then there would be another drill where someone would let the other guy win, but with us, we would go at each others’ throats. At 6 a.m. We were so competitive with one another and I think it really helped both of us. And then Saturdays in the offseason, I’d get phone calls at 5 p.m., ‘Hey what are you doing? Let’s go run routes,’ and it would just be the two of us on the field at Stanford throwing. He was one of the best teammates I’ve ever been around and one of the best people I’ve ever been around.

Ertz said he texted Luck Saturday night and told him simply that he loves him.

“But you know how he is with technology,” he said with a laugh and said he’d call him once things settle down in another week.

The Eagles' record-setting tight end said his overwhelming emotion Sunday was actually happiness because he knows Luck made the best possible decision for himself.

I’m happy he’s found his clarity,” he said. “He could have played another 10 years if he really wanted to, if he was willing to go through everything again. ... But I’m more happy that he’s found peace in this decision, that he’s able to step away when he wants to on his own terms instead of on someone else’s terms. He played seven years and had an unbelievable career. One of the most talented players I’ve ever been around.

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Eagles injury report: A few key players miss another day of practice

Eagles injury report: A few key players miss another day of practice

Updated: 4:27 p.m.

For the second straight day, the Eagles were without three of their most important skill position players as they prepare to face the Lions on Sunday afternoon. 

Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert, who were all listed as “day to day” by Doug Pederson on Wednesday, did not practice Thursday. The Eagles actually held a real practice Thursday after a walkthrough the day before. 

It doesn’t seem likely that any of those three will play against the Lions. 

Because the Eagles had a walkthrough on Wednesday, yesterday’s injury report was an estimation. Here's today's: 

Did not practice: 

Alshon Jeffery (calf), DeSean Jackson (abdomen), Dallas Goedert (calf), Corey Clement (shoulder), Tim Jernigan (foot), Jordan Mailata (back), Johnathan Cyprien (knee) 

Limited: 

Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee), Rudy Ford (hamstring) 

Full: 

Nate Sudfeld (wrist), Derek Barnett (shoulder), Fletcher Cox (toe), Nathan Gerry (knee, calf)

Good news for Grugier-Hill, who is taking part in his first real practice since spraining his MCL in August. It’s probably more realistic to expect him to return to action next Thursday night in Green Bay. 

More good news that Barnett, Cox and Gerry were full participants today after being limited to begin the week. 

Cyprien was the only player who was limited to begin the week and didn’t practice Thursday. 

Mailata worked out on a side field today, as did Jalen Mills (foot), who is still on the PUP. Mills won’t be eligible to return until Week 7. 

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NFL trade rumors: Eagles definitely in the mix for Jalen Ramsey

NFL trade rumors: Eagles definitely in the mix for Jalen Ramsey

The Jalen Ramsey trade winds are blowing strong and the Philadelphia Eagles appear to be in the mix.

Our very own Dave Zangaro wrote about why the Eagles should absolutely kick the tires on Ramsey earlier in the week and not a lot has changed there.

A number of national NFL writers continue to toss the Eagles' name around as a team that could be a landing spot for Ramsey if Howie Roseman chooses to engage. Here's a quick roundup of the latest rumblings regarding the talented but often irksome corner.

Ramsey is expected to play this evening on Thursday Night Football for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said today that, "tomorrow is a more likely target date for a Jalen Ramsey trade."

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora said yesterday that the Friday report is "the most artificial deadline in the history of artificial deadlines. There's one deadline, it's Week 9, the trade deadline."

La Canfora points to three teams, "The sense that I'm getting from GMs and personal directors are the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks, and Philadelphia."

He goes on to say that Jacksonville wants two first-round picks but whether they get that sort of return remains to be seen given their cards are all already on the table and their hand is somewhat forced. Still, Ramsey is an incredible talent that will come at a very steep price.

NBC Sports' Peter King echoed some of those sentiments in a tweet today which again puts Philly right in the hunt for Ramsey. "Roseman unafraid, can offer 1+3+SJones," he wrote in a tweet.

I assume that's a first, a third, and Sidney Jones to get the deal done. Would the Philly fanbase be OK "giving up" on Jones so early in his career when he hasn't had a ton of time to show what he's capable of when healthy? If it lands Ramsey, I'd guess so.

Finally, King adds that inquiring teams would want to talk to Ramsey's agent about a new deal which makes total sense if landing him would come at such a big price.

Thursday Night Football should be interesting this evening when Ramsey's Jags take on the Tennessee Titans on national TV. You know Birds fans will be watching for any drama. 

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