Rather than crush Fox News, Zach Ertz flies high

Rather than crush Fox News, Zach Ertz flies high

Zach Ertz could have crushed Fox News after the cable network used photos of him kneeling before games in a misleading fashion during a broadcast. 

He didn’t. 

Instead, the Eagles’ 27-year-old Pro Bowl tight end took the high road. 

“I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t upset, I think it was just kind of disappointed,” Ertz said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not going to judge who created the video and I don’t know what they’re going through as an individual, what the network wanted them to do. I’m not here to judge anyone. I was disappointed a little bit, obviously, but at the same time, I’m not there to judge them. I just go about my day. I think that was kind of sad. 

“I was most disappointed about, I feel like our community right now, there’s either one side or the other. Whereas in my opinion, everyone should be trying to build up this country, build up everyone. No one should be trying to prove, beat down their point. It’s not my job to beat down my opinion over someone else or vice versa. That’s all I was kind of disappointed about.”

The original piece that aired on Fox News Tuesday was about President Donald Trump’s disinviting the Eagles from the White House “due to the national anthem policy.” That’s when they showed several photos of Eagles players kneeling in prayer before games (see story).  

Ertz and defensive end Chris Long responded to the piece after it was sent out of Twitter from the Fox News Twitter account, which has 17.9 million followers. Later in the morning, the Twitter account did send out an apology and the station apologized on air much later in the day — the tweet of that on-air apology was sent at 12:07 a.m. Wednesday. 

Long explained why he felt the need to stick up for his teammates. 

“We have great men in our locker room, men of faith, might have a different higher power they’re praying to,” Long said. “But for guys who are praying to be misrepresented by a major news network, I thought that was irresponsible. I’m not taking a side there, I’m just calling it how I see it. They apologized a little after midnight last night on the air. It is what it is. We have great guys in this locker room and I just hate seeing their names dragged through the mud like that.” 

When asked, Ertz said he never thought about a defamation of character lawsuit. He said he hasn’t received an individual apology from Fox News, nor does he covet one. 

“I just hope as media members, I feel like people should try and get the facts right and not skew it one way or the other,” Ertz said. “In terms of an apology, I don’t need an apology. I just hope people will learn from it and get better. Because when I make a mistake on the football field, I learn from it and get better. And that’s what I hope happens.”

Eagles rookie TE Dallas Goedert makes most of extended playing time

Eagles rookie TE Dallas Goedert makes most of extended playing time

Dallas Goedert didn’t want to talk about the catches or the yards or even the touchdown.

He wanted to talk about the blocking.

Because everybody always knew he could catch the football. Nobody knew he could block.

Not like this.

Goedert, the Eagles’ rookie tight end, was 7 for 73 with his first career touchdown Sunday in the Eagles’ 20-16 win over the Colts at the Linc.

But he also blocked his butt off.

“I didn’t block a ton at San Diego State, just because it wasn’t what they had me doing,” he said. “But I aways knew I could block so I wasn’t too worried about it. I think I proved a lot of people wrong today.”

Goedert became the first Eagles rookie tight end with 73 yards in a game since L.J. Smith in 2003 and the first with 73 yards and a TD since Keith Jackson in 1988.

After getting just 17 snaps against the Falcons and 17 against the Buccaneers, Goedert got 55 Sunday against the Colts.

“The biggest thing is I’m not going to be on the field if I can’t block, and I think I showed I can do that pretty well today,” Goedert said. “The catches will come.” 

Count Zach Ertz as someone who believes Goedert needs to play a lot.

“We need him to develop, that’s the bottom line,” Ertz said. “We need him to have a role. He’s a really good football player, and it helps us.”

There were two reasons Goedert played so much Sunday. The Colts play a lot of cover 2, which leaves the middle of the field open, and that’s where tight ends do most of their work.

But also he’s just a good young player and Pederson felt like he deserved more playing time. Especially with the Eagles down a ton of running backs and receivers.

“He's earned it,” Pederson said. “He's smart. He's talented. We see it in practice. It's just time to play and cut him loose a little bit and don't keep him back.

“It was part of the game plan again to do that with two tight ends, three tight ends, but at the same time, as he gets more and more comfortable with the offense and (we) find specific plays for him, he's just going to get better and better.”

Goedert had only one catch for four yards the first two weeks of the season, but on Sunday, he and Ertz became the first pair of Eagle tight ends in 53 years with 70 or more yards in the same game.

“I think with Dallas, he’s shown me, first of all, he’s a smart football player,” Carson Wentz said. “Throughout training camp and then being able to do the no-huddle stuff and getting him in different situations and getting him in different spots, making calls at the line, checks at the line.

“He’s very instinctive and a good football player, and he came up big with a couple of plays.”  

Ertz is still the No. 1 guy, and he’s off to another big start, with 21 catches for 215 yards in three games.

But if Goedert keeps playing like this, make no mistake about it, he will play.

A lot.

“I never know when my number’s going to be called, but I’m always going to be ready,” he said. “Today we used tight ends a lot. Depending on the week that might change, but it was fun to be out there.  

“Obviously I want to be on the field but my chance was going to come. Whether it was this week, next week or in a year.”

More on the Eagles

Eagles legend Tommy McDonald dies at 84

Eagles legend Tommy McDonald dies at 84

Tommy McDonald, the flamboyant, record-setting Hall of Fame receiver who starred on the Eagles’ 1960 NFL Championship team, died Monday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced. He was 84.

McDonald was the Eagles’ third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma in 1957 and in seven seasons with the Eagles, he caught 287 passes for 5,499 yards and 66 touchdowns.

Despite standing just 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, McDonald led the NFL in touchdowns in 1958 and 1961 and in receiving yards in 1961.

In the 1960 Championship Game, which the Eagles won 17-13 over the Packers at Franklin Field, he caught three passes for 90 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown from Norm Van Brocklin in the second quarter.

After the game, legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi famously said, “If I had 11 Tommy McDonalds, I’d win a championship every year.”

McDonald finished his career with the Cowboys, Rams, Falcons and Browns and retired after the 1968 season with 495 catches for 8,410 yards and 84 touchdowns. He was a four-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler.

When he retired, McDonald ranked sixth in NFL history in catches, fourth in yards and second to long-time Packers great Don Hutson in touchdowns.

Today, 55 years after he last played for the Eagles, he still ranks second in franchise history with those 66 touchdown catches, behind only Harold Carmichael’s 79.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

“I played with a lot of great receivers, including Elroy Hirsch and Tom Fears with the Rams,” Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin said in a 2016 article on the Eagles’ website written by long-time NBC Sports Philadelphia contributor Ray Didinger.

“But if I had to pick one guy to throw the ball to with the game on the line, I’d pick McDonald. I know somehow the little bugger would get open and he’d catch the football.”

But McDonald was much more than a terrific player.

Long before Twitter and Instagram, he was a beloved personality who put on a show when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, dancing on stage to the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive,” telling jokes about his wife, tossing his Hall of Fame bust in the air and catching it,  and chest-bumping the other inductees.

His colorful life was immortalized in the play, “Tommy and Me,” written by Didinger, who first met McDonald as a kid attending Eagles training camp in Hershey in the 1950s.

Asked in a 2012 interview with Bleacher Report what his strengths were as a player, McDonald said: “Good instincts and good hands. I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1962 I think, and the headline was ‘Football's Best Hands.’ B-E-S-T! God also blessed me with S-P-E-E-D! I won 5 gold medals in track in my senior year of high school. Who wins 5 gold medals?”

Didinger wrote in that 2016 piece on the Eagles’ website that McDonald never wore gloves because he wanted to feel the ball into his hands.

“He sandpapered his fingertips before every game,” Didinger wrote. “He said it made his fingers more sensitive and helped him feel the ball. He scraped his fingers on the brick wall at Franklin Field before home games to achieve the same effect.”

Many of the legendary players from the Eagles 1948, 1949 and 1960 NFL Championship teams have died in the past several years.

Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik died in 2015 at 89, Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren died in 2012 at 91, Hall of Famer Pete Pihos in 2011 at 87 and Al Wistert, a five-time Pro Bowl lineman from the 1940s who should be in the Hall of Fame, died in 2016 at 95.

The only surviving Hall of Famers who spent at least half their NFL career with the Eagles are Bob Brown, who is 76, and 2018 inductee Brian Dawkins.