Bobby Coyle was practicing with the Avalon String Band on Tuesday night when he got a funny phone call from his wife, Libby.
“Do you happen to have a Mummer suit for someone who’s 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds?” she asked Coyle, who is the business manager and a member-at-large of the string band brigade. “Jason Kelce wants to wear one to the parade on Thursday.”
Mummers, who parade down Broad Street every New Year’s Day in colorful costumes and put on elaborate performances in front of City Hall, are a staple in Philadelphia culture.
Kelce had been chatting with his teammates about what to wear to the championship parade. While Chris Long opted for a fur coat and an Allen Iverson jersey, Kelce wanted something that was colorful and unique to the city.
Coyle said his wife has been cutting Kelce’s hair since he moved to Philly, so the football player turned to her for help in finding a Mummers suit.
Coyle, who is 6-feet-2 inches and weighs 200 pounds, said it was not an easy task to outfit Kelce. Eventually he found something that would cover the Eagle’s NFL physique – a suit from Avalon’s 2008 performance, “Ire-Land of Leprechauns.”
“Luckily, we keep all our old costumes,” Coyle said. “We wound up lending Jason our music director’s suit from 2008, because he used to be a football player.”
Libby brought the suit to Kelce on Wednesday when she went to cut his hair at the team’s practice facilities, and said it fit him perfectly.
During the parade, Coyle said many of the string band’s members, wearing their Avalon jackets, were cheering on the team. When Kelce — who happens to play baritone saxophone – spotted them from the Eagles bus he was riding, he tried to get off to greet them, but was stopped by police. (The football player spent most of the parade walking on the streets, signing autographs, chugging beers, riding a police bike, and leading fans in a sing-along, much to everyone’s delight.)
Later, at the foot of the Art Museum steps, Kelce cemented his Philadelphia bonds with his honest, profanity-laden speech about how the Eagles had been looked down on all season.
“Despite what he said during his speech today, Jason Kelce is a gentleman,” Coyle said. “He’s really plugged into the community. We’d love for him to come and sit in on a practice sometime. That would be amazing.”