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Eagles Q&A: Why does Ben VanSumeren have Nelly's phone number?

Eagles rookie linebacker Ben VanSumeren lists his most famous contact as the rapper Nelly.

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Each week during the 2023 season, we’re going through the Eagles media guide to find an interesting nugget.

The Eagles’ PR interns do a great job filling out these little oddities in the media guide and they serve as a good way to meet the players behind the helmets.

This week, we chatted with practice squad linebacker Ben VanSumeren, who has played in the last two games. He also listed his most famous cell phone contact as Nelly. Not the former Eagles receiver, but the world-famous rapper.

Me: How did that happen?

VanSumeren: So in my hometown, Bay City (Michigan), they have a country music festival (Bay City Country Music Festival) every single year. It’s just something that I’ve been home for. It’s around the 4th of July. It’s the time of the year to be in the city. And the last year was Nelly. Through promotions and stuff like that, I was able to get Nelly.

Me: Wow.

VanSumeren: Nelly was incredible. I like country music. Nelly actually has a country album. That’s why he was there. But I think in years past it was Travis Tritt, some other guys like that. But, yeah, Nelly showed up last year.

Me: Interesting. What did he play?

VanSumeren: He actually did all of his greatest hits. He also did some covers of some country songs. It’s a country musical festival. But it was a great time to be there. It was one of the best days. All my friends from home come home for that.

Me: That’s cool.

VanSumeren: It’s a really small town but people like to come back and show up for the festival.

Me: What was he like?

VanSumeren: Nelly was great. He was incredible. I didn’t really … Nelly might even be a little bit before my time.

Me: I was gonna say. You’re what, 23? I feel like Nelly is in my wheelhouse.

VanSumeren: I didn’t really know all of his songs but I tried to get familiar with them. Because, I mean, I go to one concert a year with my brother and some of my friends from home. I kind of got familiar with his songs. But he’s got some good stuff. When he was really in his prime, he was like the top guy.

Me: He was the guy.

VanSumeren: So I know the people from home, the promotions and stuff like that.

Me: Did you get to meet him?

VanSumeren: Yeah, I met Nelly. Just briefly. But I got his number (laughter). I’ve got his number in my phone.

Me: Have you ever used it?

VanSumeren: No.

Me: Will you ever …

VanSumeren: I’m not going to reach out, no. Actually, when he comes back this year, he’s coming back again.

Me: So maybe you’ll use it then.

VanSumeren: Maybe.

Me: It would be cool to hang out with Nelly.

VanSumeren: Nelly was cool. Nelly’s gotta be damn near 40, don’t you think?

Me: Yeah, he’s gotta be at least. I’m 35 and he’s older than me. But he was big when I was like in middle school. In 8th grade, when you’d ask everyone’s favorite song, it was always Country Grammar.

VanSumeren: Country Grammar’s good. That was my first time hearing that last song. That’s funny.

Me: Let’s see, he’s 49.

VanSumeren: Oh my gosh. He looks great for being 49. Like I said, I thought he was younger than that. He put on a great performance for being damn near 50 years old.

Me: That’s cool, man. Thank you.

VanSumeren: Oh sure.

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