Westport is not exactly a breeding ground for NFL players. That’s why we’re still talking about Skip Lane’s 1987 season with the Washington Redskins.
As a “replacement player” during the players’ strike, the defensive back — and former Staples High School quarterback — helped the team win 3 games. That’s credited with getting them into the playoffs. They went on to win the Super Bowl. Thirty years later, Lane will — finally — get his ring.
But that’s not what this story is about.
“06880” scoured the world for a Westport connection to Super Bowl LII. Thanks to Staples Class of 1981 graduate Suzanne Sherman Propp, we’ve found one:
Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz is the son of Propp’s classmate, Lisa Adams.
On Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story on Ertz and his mother. (The hook was a concussion that Ertz — a 6-5, 250-pound Pro Bowl player, and the Eagles’ leading receiver this year — received in December. One of his brothers gave up football after multiple concussions in high school. Lisa is now president of a foundation that promotes safer football equipment.)
The Inquirer story credits Lisa with inspiring her son to play football. In 7th grade, she signed him up so he could lose weight. He hated it.
When he was a high school freshman in California, she encouraged him to play to make friends.
That was the ticket. He starred, and got college scholarship offers.
When he was choosing between UCLA and Stanford, Lisa pushed him to become a Cardinal.
She was thinking about the post-college opportunities Stanford offers. She told the Inquirer:
I was very adamant and I actually said to him, “Well, it’s not like you’re going to play pro football.” Go get a great degree, have a wonderful experience, and the rest of your life, you can say you went to Stanford.
Zach got his degree — in management science and engineering.
And now Westport — and the world — get a chance to watch as he tries to earn a Super Bowl ring.
BONUS FUN FACT: Zach Ertz is married to Julie Johnston, a midfielder on the US women’s national soccer team.
(Click here for the entire Philadelphia Inquirer story.)