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Cardinals release three-time Pro Bowl TE Ertz

Arizona Cardinals Zach Ertz - The Canadian Press

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals released veteran tight end Zach Ertz on Thursday, clearing the way for the rapidly-improving Trey McBride to assume the starting role.

The 33-year-old Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who has spent the past five games on injured reserve with a quadriceps injury. He returned from an ACL tear in 2022 and played in seven games this season with 27 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown.

Even if Ertz had returned from his most recent injury, he would have likely lost playing time to McBride, a second-year player who has emerged as one of the bright spots in a tough season. The Cardinals have a 2-10 record.

Ertz spent the first 7 1/2 seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he won a Super Bowl in 2017. He was traded to the Cardinals during the 2021 season and played well, with 56 catches for 574 yards and three touchdowns in just 11 games.

Former Cardinals teammate J.J. Watt was the first to report Ertz's release, saying on social media that the tight end “plans to sign with a contender and make a run at his 2nd Super Bowl ring.”

The Cardinals confirmed Ertz's release shortly afterwards.