This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
With the joy of the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory still crackling in the air, popular center Jason Kelce visited Central High School on Thursday to display some non-football-related talents.
The special admission school hosted the music department from Kelce’s alma mater, Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio, where Kelce played saxophone.
He seized the opportunity to visit with the students and flex his musical muscles.
“It’s just awesome seeing another school like this and seeing the similarities to Cleveland Heights and being with all these kids, who at one point I was,” said Kelce. “I’m just really happy to be here with you guys.”
Since 1933, Cleveland Heights has toured the country visiting select high schools, where they’d perform for one another. During the jazz portion of the performance, Kelce sat in with each school’s jazz band as they performed classics such as "Big Dipper" by Thad Jones and "The Heat’s On" by Sammy Nestico.
Though Kelce is best known for protecting the pocket, the 6-foot plus, 295-pound offensive lineman had a little trouble staying in the groove while playing. It was the first time he has played in over 12 years, he said.
“It’s been a while since I’ve actually played saxophone,” he said. “It brought back a lot of memories and it was really fun.”
Kelce’s popularity with Philly sports fans grew after he delivered a fiery, impassioned “underdog” speech at the Super Bowl parade. Both Kelce’s speech and his outfit were considerably toned down for the school event.
Earlier this week, however, the Phillies invited him to their spring training camp to pump up the team for the coming season.
Central senior Martis Ravenello plays the bassoon for the jazz band. He said that having a famous athlete visit the school was inspiring.
“It’s really amazing,” he said. “You kind of forget that the football team that represents your city and where you’re from actually lives in your city. So it’s kind of surreal.”
Watch Kelce play with the Central High jazz band here.