ARIZONA CARDINALS

Frank Caliendo tells story of how he helped recruit J.J. Watt to Cardinals

Mar 3, 2021, 5:17 PM | Updated: 11:49 pm
J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans warms up prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Firs...
J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans warms up prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim joined The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday and discussed how the Cardinals landed J.J. Watt.

Keim rattled off a few key recruiters he had. One was DeAndre Hopkins, which, duh. But the next two were a bit odd: comedian Frank Caliendo and country music artist Blake Shelton.

Eisen naturally asked how Caliendo helped, which led to Keim making a joke about Caliendo doing some impressions. The two are friends and Caliendo lives in the Valley right by the Cardinals’ facility, but how does he really fit into this?

So, to get down to the real story, Caliendo joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday to tell his side.

“The reality is I didn’t do much,” he said. “I’ve just known J.J. for a while. We’re both from Wisconsin.”

Caliendo said the two don’t have a super tight relationship and he didn’t want to be too weird in really forcing it.

“It was kind of a soft sell to J.J. because I’m friends with J.J. Watt but I’m not pals with J.J. Watt,” he said. “I would rather have his friendship than talking him into coming to Arizona.”

In reality, it was just more of an inside joke coming to life than anything.

“Anytime a free agent becomes available, I’ll just text Steve, ‘You want me to get him?’ Just as a joke,” Caliendo said. “And I said, ‘You want me to get J.J.?’ He’s like, ‘Do it, do it.’ I thought he was joking and he’s like, ‘No do it.’ And I’m like alright.”

Keim stayed on the potential lead.

“And then I get other texts from Keim like, ‘I want him really bad. I really want it bad. Just text him.’ And I didn’t text him again,” Caliendo said. “I kept telling Keim I was texting him a lot more but I texted him maybe one or twice.”

Caliendo, of course, had fans of other teams sending him messages on social media and blaming him for getting Watt to the Cardinals.

“All I can say is this: your team didn’t call me,” he said.

Arizona Cardinals

Matt Prater #5 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a field goal with teammates during the second qu...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals K Matt Prater’s game vs. Browns leads to player of the week nod

Matt Prater's 13 points were a season-high for the Cardinals on Sunday and in a 37-14 win bumped his season total to 56, most in the NFC.
7 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals assistant receivers coach Spencer Whipple on a Zoom press conference on Tuesday, ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Interim play-caller Spencer Whipple comforted by support from Cardinals’ staff

Spencer Whipple did let it rip. His play-sheet didn't as the interim play-caller helped the Arizona Cardinals to a win against the Browns.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals' Josh Mauro (97) runs defensive linemen drills during an NFL football training ca...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals sign DL Josh Mauro to practice squad

The Arizona Cardinals have signed a familiar face to the practice squad in defensive lineman Josh Mauro, the team announced.
1 day ago
CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 17: Zach Ertz of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against...
Wills Rice

New Cardinals TE Zach Ertz bids farewell to Philadelphia in letter to fans

After playing eight years and winning a Super Bowl for the Eagles, the newest Cardinals TE Zach Ertz said an emotional goodbye to Philly.
1 day ago
Follow @AZSports...
Arizona Sports

Trivia Tuesday: Cardinals players with 800+ receiving yards in a season

Can you name every Cardinals player (since 1988) to have 800 or more receiving yards in a single season? Good luck, it's Trivia Tuesday!
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury applauds his players during NFL football training camp...
Arizona Sports

SI’s Breer: Kliff Kingsbury was on to Houston as Cardinals closed out Browns

Kliff Kingsbury handed off his duties as Cardinals coach and proceded to plan for the Houston Texans as his team played the Cleveland Browns.
2 days ago
Frank Caliendo tells story of how he helped recruit J.J. Watt to Cardinals