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PHILADELPHIA – Jason Kelce was just like every other Eagles fan during the offseason.
He fully expected tight end Zach Ertz would get traded after Ertz expressed his displeasure over his contract last season before giving what seemed like a tearful farewell in his postseason press conference in January.
The rumors persisted throughout the spring and as training camp approached. So when Kelce and Ertz started working out together at the NovaCare Complex, the two made a bet.
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Ertz had just dyed his hair blond, and Kelce said if Ertz was still on the roster for the season opener that he, too, would dye his hair blond. Ertz took the bet as he expected to remain an Eagle.
Sure enough, Ertz was still an Eagle as the opener approached last week, so Kelce paid up.
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"I was betting that he was going to get traded because I firmly thought he was going to get traded," Kelce said Thursday. "It’s a bet I’m happy to lose. (I'm) not happy with the hair, but happy that I lost the bet."
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Ertz, of course, has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times in his career, and he set the record for receptions by a tight end in a single season with 116 in 2018. But Ertz had an injury-filled season in 2020, posting career lows in receptions with 36 and yards with 335.
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Ertz had missed five games with a broken ankle that required surgery after the season, even though he played the final six games of the season before it had fully healed. Ertz described that as "freakin' debilitating" as the Eagles went through a 4-11-1 season.
Afterward, head coach Doug Pederson was fired and quarterback Carson Wentz, one of Ertz's best friends, was traded, and several other veterans weren't brought back.
Philadelphia Eagles nose tackle Javon Hargrave (97) and team mates celebrate a Hargrave sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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Philadelphia Eagles nose tackle Javon Hargrave (97) sacks Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (18) scores a touchdown past Atlanta Falcons strong safety Duron Harmon (21) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. The Philadelphia Eagles won 32-6. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Steven Nelson (3) deflects a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. The Philadelphia Eagles won 32-6. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) works against Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant (27) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. The Philadelphia Eagles won 32-6. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) breaks out of the pocket against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Ertz, who's 30, also was due $8.5 million this season, the final year of his contract.
Eagles place Zach Ertz on COVID-19 list
The Eagles may be without Zach Ertz this week. Philadelphia announced on Monday that Ertz has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It’s not currently known whether Ertz has tested positive or is the close contact of someone who has. If Ertz tested positive and is vaccinated, then he would just need two negative tests [more]Philadelphia announced on Monday that Ertz has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It’s not currently known whether Ertz has tested positive or is the close contact of someone who has.
So the trade desires seemed mutual for both Ertz and the Eagles. And yet, Ertz stayed, saying last week that he "mended faces" and "apologies were made."
Ertz had two catches for 34 yards last Sunday in the Eagles' 32-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Kelce wouldn't say how long he had to keep his hair dyed blond, but he's not a big fan of it. Neither is his wife. And looking back, Kelce said he should have known Ertz was coming back when they made the bet in July.
"I think (Ertz) might have known at that point (that he was staying), which is why I’m sitting here with this hair," Kelce said with a laugh. "A little inside information.
"He had just started working back out in the facility, which probably should’ve been another sign to me that he’d be coming back. Really happy that Zach is still here."
23. Panthers (23): QB Sam Darnold's relaunch and RB Christian McCaffrey's return understandably commanded a lot of attention, but Carolina's defense opened the season with a stifling performance (6 sacks, 252 yards allowed).
21. Washington (19): QB Ryan Fitzpatrick set record by making a Week 1 start for his sixth different club before sustaining a hip injury likely to cost him at least half the season. But it could be a silver lining for the WFT as it takes an extended look at Taylor Heinicke, who could have a long-term future here.
15. Broncos (18): Their .683 winning percentage in Week 1 is the NFL's best since the 1970 merger, but it hasn't helped them finish a season above .500 since 2016. But this team looks dangerous ... and classy, coach Vic Fangio wearing an FDNY hat on the sideline Sunday.
11. 49ers (9): Are they the team that led Detroit 38-10 through 2½ quarters, or the one that held on for a 41-33 win ... and is already dealing with another rash of injuries after losing CB Jason Verrett to a torn ACL while hoping RB Raheem Mostert (knee) can return by midseason?
9. Cowboys (14): Encouraging start for QB Dak Prescott after shining in his first game in 11 months ... though far less encouraging start for a rebooted defense that merely needs to be average but didn't reach that bar in Tampa despite generating four turnovers.
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8. Steelers (17): They were hardly dominant in upset of Buffalo, but tough defense, a re-commitment to the run and opportunistic special teams could carry Pittsburgh a long way once again.
6. Seahawks (10): Glass half empty -- QB Russell Wilson was sacked three more times (for shame, O-line). Glass half full -- the defense shone in Indianapolis and notched three sacks of its own. Given what just happened to their next opponent, Tennessee, expect D to take sack lead after Week 2.
5. Saints (16): New NBC football analyst Drew Brees kidded (right?) Sunday night that "I guess apparently this is what the Saints have been missing." He was referring to QB successor Jameis Winston, who struck downfield -- a capability that should open up the entire attack and especially help RB Alvin Kamara. Is this offense actually better? So far, so good given what New Orleans just did to the Packers ... and under suboptimal circumstances.
3. Rams (6): The Matthew Stafford-Sean McVay marriage appeared all it was cracked up to be ... through one game anyway. Stafford's Week 1-best 156.1 QB rating is the highest in league history for a player debuting with a new team.
2. Chiefs (2): The re-engineered offensive line generally held up well -- particularly given three players with zero NFL experience were debuting -- as did Kansas City's proclivity to fall into double-digit holes before dramatically climbing out of them.
1. Buccaneers (1): Poor start by a defense that was the true Super Bowl 55 MVP. But when you've got QB Tom Brady and a cast of offensive skill players that could have served as the starting lineup in the 2017 Pro Bowl, OK for the D to take an early mulligan.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce explains his blond hair after losing trade bet to Zach Ertz
Eagles activate veteran TE Zach Ertz from reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of 'MNF' vs. Cowboys .
Ertz, who is vaccinated, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday after testing positive for the virus. Per NFL protocols, a vaccinated and asymptomatic player can return after providing two negative test results 24 hours apart. The 30-year-old has played in both of Philadelphia's games this season, catching three passes for 40 yards. Before Ertz was activated, the Eagles were expected to use Dallas Goedert and rookie Jack Stoll at tight end. Now Jalen Hurts has another top-tier target for Monday's divisional battle against the Cowboys.