PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Angelo Cataldi and Chip Kelly had a very amusing sports-media relationship.
It started with Wing Bowl 21, days after Kelly was hired in 2013. It blossomed with their weekly Monday morning conversations on SportsRadio 94WIP throughout Kelly’s tenure in Philadelphia. And it flourished with the lucky pie delivery system and a $4,000 donation to charity.
On Wednesday afternoon, the now former Philadelphia Eagles head coach privately called the 25-year radio host, who called the conversation the most gracious conversation in sports that he’s ever been a part of.
“I gotta say it was the most gracious conversation I could ever remember having with anyone I ever talked about or dealt with in sports in my life,” Cataldi said on Thursday’s 94WIP Morning Show. “He could not had have been nicer. He was very complimentary on the conversations we had over the years. He was very philosophical about what had happened to him, very confident of his future. And I couldn’t believe it because I had just done a show saying that he doesn’t know how to deal with people and he had dealt with me in a way that no one had ever done. Rhea [Hughes], all the years.”
Listen: Angelo Cataldi tells the story of his phone call with Chip Kelly
Initially, Cataldi admitted he was shocked to discover that Kelly wanted to have a private conversation.
“I was flummoxed,” Cataldi said describing how he felt upon realizing Kelly wanted to talk to him privately. “Chip Kelly wants to talk to me, not on the show. Chip Kelly and I had talked every Monday at 8:00 a.m. after games and maybe two or three other times when I delivered pies. We had no conversation, we had no relationships beyond the professional world.
“Right away my thought was, I have to read a sponsorship because every time I’ve talked to him it’s been sponsored,” Cataldi joked.
One day prior, the morning after Kelly was fired, Cataldi ripped Kelly for his personnel decisions and inability to relate to his players. He says his opinion has not changed, despite the courteous call from Kelly.
“It doesn’t color in anyway my ultimate judgement of him,” Cataldi said. “I think he blew it as GM and I think that’s why he’s not here anymore and he didn’t relate well to his players, that’s why he isn’t here anymore. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t disclose that he made this phone call yesterday.”
Did the conversation make Cataldi feel any sense of guilt for criticizing Kelly?
“No I don’t, I really don’t [feel guilty],” Cataldi said. “I’ve always been able to separate like the graciousness of an individual from how to asses their performance. But I gotta say it was shocking to me and very appreciated. It was really a cool thing to hear, one time I can say when I leave this job that a coach called me after getting fired and actually thanked me for being fair to him and reasonable.
“[Kelly] said, ‘I found you to be very professional.'”
Cataldi did get one quality line in, at the end.
“At the end I said, ‘Chip I’m sure you’ll get another job and I’m sure you’ll be very successful at that job. When you know where it’s gonna be let me know, so I’ll know where to send the pies.’
“And I did get a good laugh out of it. That was it. Maybe that’s where we bonded, with the pies.”