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Cardinals GM Steve Keim says he used Blake Shelton to help recruit J.J. Watt to Arizona

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-Josh Rosen Press Conference
Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Watt told reporters Tuesday there were many reasons he chose to sign with the Arizona Cardinals after hitting free agency for the first time in his 10-year NFL career. What he didn’t reveal was the celebrity star power Cardinals general manager Steve Keim used to sell Arizona to the longtime Texans star. Appearing on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Keim said he used country singer Blake Shelton — as well as a handful of other big names — to help recruit the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

“When you look at J.J.’s history,” Keim told Eisen, “the guy’s never been recruited. (He was a) walk-on at Central Michigan. The path that he’s taken, I think, it was probably fairly exciting for him to have a number of teams recruit him. I certainly pulled out all the stops.”

The guys he called for help: Shelton, Watt’s former Texans teammate DeAndre Hopkins, and comedian impressionist Frank Caliendo.

A nine-time Grammy Award nominee, Shelton has long touted his Cardinals fandom and celebrated Watt’s signing on Twitter this week. Keim said “he’ll make some recruiting videos for me” because “he’s not a fair-weather fan … he is all in.”

Caliendo, on the other hand? Apparently he coached one of Keim’s kids in flag football and lives nearby, so he offered to chip in.

“He probably impersonated Jon Gruden and said that Steve Keim had interest and made some sort of funny deal,” Keim said. “He’s always willing to help.”

Help, he did.

No word yet on whether Watt has forthcoming gigs in Blake Shelton music videos and Frank Caliendo comedy specials.



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