Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz expressed shock upon learning about former head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s decision to leave the NFL and join the University of Southern California (USC) as their new head coach.
The Cardinals re-signed Zach to a three-year $31.65 million deal, with $17.5 million of it guaranteed, $14.5 million of it fully guaranteed at signing, and an $8 million signing bonus, solidifying the tight end position for the upcoming season.
Why was Zach Ertz shocked over Kliff Kingsbury’s decision to join USC?
According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss, the Cardinals’ TE Zach Ertz expressed shock and happiness over his former coach Kliff Kingsbury’s move of joining USC saying,” I was shocked for sure. I’m happy for him.”
Zach explained the reason behind his action citing college football is much different from the national football league, however, the 32-year-old expressed his excitement to witness Kliff acing his new role.
“College is college, it’s different than the NFL, but I’m excited for him. If he’s excited, I’m excited for him”, he added.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted on Monday citing the former Cardinal head coach Kliff decided to head back to the USC football program as a senior offensive analyst to work with the Trojans’ QB, including potential top prospect Caleb Williams following being sacked by the team.
Former #Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury is expected to join Lincoln Riley at USC and work with the team’s quarterbacks, per sources.
So Kingsbury, who was part of the team that drafted Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall, now will coach another potential No. 1 pick in Caleb Williams. pic.twitter.com/MxwzrEVb9J
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 11, 2023
The 43-year-old previously worked with USC as an offensive coordinator back in 2018, albeit the duty continued for only one month as he left the job after being pursued by NFL teams.
Kingsbury moonlighted as a QB whisperer as he helped the Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes develop when he was in Texas Tech, albeit his tactics didn’t work well with the Cardinals QB Kyler Murray.
During his last four seasons with the Cardinals team, Kliff could not prove him a promising mentor, compiling a disappointing 28-37-1 record. In this period, the Cardinals reached the playoffs only once and couldn’t ensure a win in the postseason, leading the team to sack him at the end. Kingsbury earlier signed a five-year deal extension with the team lasting through the 2027 season, however, the Arizona franchise decided to replace him with the ex-Philly defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon in January after the team lost the season finale 38-13 to the 49ers.
“We all thought over the last three seasons or the prior three seasons that we would take the next step up after having achieved a playoff appearance last year. It didn’t happen…And we expected better, I expected better and we deserve better. And that’s what our community wants. It’s what our fans want, it’s what the players want, it’s what everybody in this organization wants,” the Cardinals’ owner Bidwill said after sacking the head coach.
As the NFL offseason progresses, the football world will undoubtedly be watching closely to see how Kingsbury fares in his new role at USC, and how the Cardinals move forward without him.