When OTAs began last year in Philadelphia, tight end Zach Ertz was back in California finishing his degree at Stanford.
Now he’s helping a fellow Cardinal-turned-Eagle, safety Ed Reynolds, make the same transition.
Stanford University graduates on June 15 and is on the quarter system instead of the traditional college semester calendar. According to NFL rules, rookies may not leave school to join their respective teams in OTAs until the current senior class has graduated.
The first team activity Reynolds will be able to take part in is mandatory minicamps, which run for three days beginning on June 17.
"We chatted a few times when he was out here," Ertz said after the Eagles' OTA on Monday. "I kind of just told him to keep his body in very good shape, which I know he will because that’s the kind of person and player he is."
After missing OTAs last season, Ertz improved as his rookie year went on, tallying 22 of his 36 catches, 268 of his 469 yards and all four of his touchdowns after Week 8. This year, he’s reaping the benefits of being a full participant and poised for a major role in the offense (see story).
“It’s been great so far just being able to be out here with the coaches,” Ertz said. “It’s been great for me personally. Obviously I wasn’t here last year, so it was tough, but this year I have a full offseason. It’s been good.”
The Eagles took Reynolds in the fifth round of the NFL draft, 162nd overall, and signed him to a four-year contract (see story). The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder was a third-team All-American and a Jack Tatum Award winner in his junior year.
He is the son of former Patriots and Giants linebacker, Ed Reynolds, who played 10 NFL seasons.
While Reynolds waits for his chance to join his new team, his former teammate is relaying information and expectations back to him. Ertz and Reynolds played together at Stanford for three seasons from 2010 to 2012, although Reynolds missed all of the 2011 season with a torn ACL and MCL.
“He’s out there grinding,” Ertz said of Reynolds. “We’ve got a great strength and conditioning program back there, so he’s back there with them.
“But at the end of the day, you can’t really replicate what we’re doing out here so it is kind of tough.”