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Zach Ertz discusses House of Hope benefit concert, Fletcher Cox's retirement, facing Philadelphia Eagles

Extended interview: Zach Ertz talks House of Hope benefit concert in Philadelphia
Extended interview: Zach Ertz talks House of Hope benefit concert in Philadelphia 12:08

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Zach Ertz may be suiting up for one of the Eagles' division rivals in 2024, but the 2018 Super Bowl champion still holds Philadelphia close to his heart. Ertz and his wife, former U.S. soccer star Julie Ertz, will be back in the City of Brotherly Love on Friday night to host a benefit concert at Brooklyn Bowl for the Ertz Family Foundation and the House of Hope.

Matt Quinn of the indie rock band Mt. Joy and others will perform at Brooklyn Bowl in Fishtown at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are on sale on the venue's website for $45.

Ertz told CBS Philadelphia's Pat Gallen the benefit concert is a chance for the Ertzs to return to Philadelphia.

"Philadelphia has meant so much to us over the years," the tight end said, "and we really came up with a House of House concept years ago when we were still playing here. We're finally at the finish line of this project. We can see the end zone. We're kind of at that two-minute in the fourth quarter trying to win the game."

Ertz said his foundation started House of Hope to help kids have a safe place to hang out after school.

"After school, Julie and I had the opportunity to play sports from 3 to 7 o'clock," Ertz said. "My mom always made sure me and my brothers were busy during that time. But a lot of people don't play sports and they need other things to do."

"One of the all-time greats"

Ertz said he knew Fletcher Cox would retire after the 2023 season. Cox held his official retirement press conference Tuesday calling it a career after 12 seasons with the Eagles and six Pro Bowls.

Cox totaled 70 sacks over 188 career games and won Super Bowl LII with Ertz and the Birds.

"He was a guy who was a rock star on that defense for so many years," Ertz said. "One of the best Philadelphia Eagles to ever play the game. He was drafted a year before me in Philly, so we spent nine years together.

"He was almost a big brother to me. He was the guy who was showing how you approach the game in Philly. What it meant to be a monster in every aspect. He was a truly generational player. Besides Aaron Donald, he was probably the best D-Lineman in the past decade. He's one of the all-time greats. I don't know if anyone will wear 91 again in that organization."

Ertz said Cox was "just as important to the team in the locker room" as Jason Kelce, who retired this offseason.

Ertz recalls playing in London, England

The Eagles on Wednesday finally learned their opponent for the NFL's first-ever game in Brazil: the Green Bay Packers.

For Philadelphia, it will be its second international game. The Birds beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-18, at London's Wembley Stadium back in 2018. Ertz caught four passes for 26 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' win.

Ertz said he loved playing in London and said former head coach Doug Pederson allowed the Eagles to stay in England the following week to explore the city since the team was on its bye week after.

"I truly enjoyed it," Ertz said. "Obviously, we won the game, which helps. But it's so unique because it's almost a Super Bowl feel, where it's very corporate in the sense you don't have 70,000 Eagles or Commanders fans screaming. It's very kind of subdued almost where they're kind of just cheering for a good game."

Ertz's first game back in Philadelphia

After signing a one-year contract with the Washington Commanders, Ertz will play his first game in Philadelphia since the Eagles traded him to the Arizona Cardinals in 2021. The Eagles' 2024 schedule has yet to be released, but the Eagles will play the Commanders twice - once in Philly.

Ertz has played his former team once before, catching six passes for 48 yards in the Cardinals' 20-17 loss to the Eagles in 2022.

The 33-year-old said he's not sure what to expect from Eagles fans.

"Obviously, everyone knows how I feel," he said. "I've seen some former players and not get ovationed. I'd say maybe a different kind of ovation, but everybody knows how I feel about the city so hopefully, it's an awesome day for me and the fans."

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