Eagles

Carson Wentz walks fine line between loving Jesus and not being preachy

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Carson Wentz walks fine line between loving Jesus and not being preachy

Carson Wentz wants everybody to know just how important Jesus is in his life. How important religion is in his life.
 
At the same time, he doesn't want to come across as preachy or proselytizing.
 
Good luck sorting all that out.
 
Wentz has actually walked that tight-rope the past year just as adroitly as he avoided trouble in the pocket.
 
He's made it clear what he believes and what it means to him, and he's done it in a way that seems natural and organic.
 
"You're always walking that fine line, without a doubt," he said. "I always tell people, for example, if you love your job, you love your wife, you love what you do, you're going to talk about it. Well, I love Jesus. That's what I love, so I'm going to talk about it.
 
"But I'm not going to force it down your throat, either. So it's definitely a fine line that I'm constantly trying to walk, and at the end of the day, just kind of how I live and what I'm about and hopefully can kind of speak through. If that makes sense.”
 
Wentz is no religious zealot. Anything but. Ask him about his faith, ask him about a particular biblical verse, ask him about his relationship with Jesus, and he's happy to chat. For hours.
 
And it's not unusual for a biblical passage or a reference to Jesus to come up in one of Wentz's press conferences. That's who he is. He's just being himself.
 
But he's no proselytizer.
 
And he said he's constantly trying to balance answering questions honestly with making sure he doesn't come across as preachy.
 
Heady stuff for a 24-year-old kid from North Dakota.
 
"I never want to be the guy who's beating people over the head with the Bible," Wentz said recently. "That's not what I'm about. That's not really what Christianity is about.
 
"Christianity is all about love and showing that love and that kindness and that grace."
 
Wentz has clearly thought this through. He understands that as the starting quarterback for a team in the sixth-largest city in the country — and a city that's gone 56 years without an NFL championship and eight years without even a playoff win and is starving for a franchise quarterback — he's an instant celebrity and someone whose words carry a ton of weight.
 
He takes that responsibility seriously. He said he's heard some criticisms of his openness discussing religion, but he said it won't change who he is or what he says.
 
“I have seen [negative] things here and there," he said. "It is what it is. Again, but they're still reading it, they're still following me. They're still hearing what I believe to be true so it's a fine line.
 
"Without a doubt, I want to use my platform to make a difference [in] peoples' lives."
 
Look at Wentz's Twitter account (@cj_wentz), and about half of his posts or retweets are religious in nature.
 
Others concern such hotly controversial topics as his dogs, his love of hunting and fishing, various charities (including his own) and well wishes to current and former teammates.
 
"Going and speaking at events or even social media can be very impactful in what you share, what you post," he said. "Some people that don't like that stuff, maybe they shouldn't follow me on social media. But that's just what I'm about.”
 
Wentz's own AO1 Foundation, launched earlier this year, seems overtly religious, with a mission statement to "demonstrate the love of God by providing opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need."
 
But the three disparate main objectives of the charity — to provide shelter, food and education for underprivileged youth; to provide hunting opportunities for disabled people; to provide service dogs to those who need them — are objectives that anybody can appreciate and admire, regardless of their faith.
 
It's not common for a 24-year-old who hasn't even started his second season in the NFL to have the wherewithal to start a foundation.
 
But as we're all learning, Wentz is not your typical 24-year-old.
 
"Coming into the league, my agents and stuff told me most guys will wait four or five years to do their foundation if they want, and I was like, ‘OK,’ so I took their advice, thought about it, but I’m like, 'I have no idea in four or five years where I’m going to be," Wentz said.
 
"God-willing, I’m still playing this game, hopefully still here and everything, but you just never know. You’re not promised tomorrow, so I just said, why wait? Why wait to make a difference and help out?
 
"It's something I’m very passionate about. I realize I have a platform for more than just winning football games. I want to make a difference all over the country, all over the world.
 
"Even if it’s just a little bit here and there and just help give people and kids hope, that’s what it’s all about.”

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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Eagles bringing back veteran DE Vinny Curry on a 1-year deal

Eagles bringing back veteran DE Vinny Curry on a 1-year deal

The Eagles are bringing back a familiar face to bolster their defensive line depth, signing Vinny Curry to a one-year deal, sources confirm to NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

Curry, 32, played in all 16 games last season with two starts and finished the season with five sacks. Curry also had 27 tackles, 5 TFLs and 12 QB hits last season. 

Curry’s one-year deal is worth up to $2 million, with $1.3 million guaranteed, a source confirmed. NFL Network first reported the news. Curry was also weighing an offer from the Browns, according to our own Derrick Gunn. 

That 5-sack total was the second-highest in his career and the most he had in a single season since 2014, when he had 9.0. 

With Curry back in the mix, the Eagles will go into 2020 with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett as their starters at DE. Curry and Josh Sweat will be the primary rotational players. And then we’ll see which players out of Genard Avery, Shareef Miller, Joe Ostman and Casey Toohill make the roster. 

Curry was a 2nd-round pick out of Marshall back in 2012 and while he’s never really lived up to that draft status, he’s put in a lot of solid seasons in an Eagles uniform. After the 2017 season, he cashed in on a big deal with the Buccaneers but lasted just one year in Tampa Bay. Curry signed a one-year deal with the Eagles for the 2019 season too. 

While Graham and Barnett led the way in snaps for the Eagles last year with 791 and 712, respectively, Curry was next with 397 snaps. He played more than Sweat. 

We’ll also see what this means for Malik Jackson. The Eagles’ defensive tackle has the ability to play defensive end and likely would have if the Eagles needed depth there. But signing Curry might take care of that. 

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