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.


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