After a nightmarish 2020 season ended in their plummet from Super Bowl contenders to a 4-11-1 record, it looked as though the Philadelphia Eagles were going to have to make major changes to their locker room and perhaps bid farewell to some major contributors on one of the NFL's most veteran teams. But somehow, Philadelphia was able to bring back many of their old faithful despite the crisis they faced.
All-Pro center Jason Kelce was brought back. So too was All-Pro defensive end Brandon Graham and All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. And finally, after an entire offseason of his fate looking sealed, Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz was brought off the trade block and back into the fold for the 2021 season.
At multiple points in the offseason, Ertz had seemed on the way out to the point that even Kelce had thought his longtime teammate was not long for Philadelphia. So, when Ertz indeed stayed and played in the team's Week 1 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Kelce had to make good on a bet and dye his hair blonde -- just as Ertz made headlines for doing in training camp.
"The bet was that if Zach was still here Week 1, I gotta dye my hair like Zach's," Kelce said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. "Again, not happy with the hair but happy I lost the bet."
While other veteran players on the Eagles were brought back despite the team's abysmal 2020 record and an aging roster, Ertz had been publicly floated as available for a trade to the point that Ertz -- an integral part of the franchise's Super Bowl LII-winning team -- had bid goodbye to Philadelphia in January.
But just before training camp, after the Eagles did not receive a trade offer they felt was adequate and smoothed things over with their top tight end, Ertz reported to his team and will play through the final year of his current contract. Which, Kelce suspects, may have compelled him to make the bet to begin with.
""I think he might have known at that point -- which is why I'm sitting here with this hair," Kelce said. "A little inside information."