The enigma that is former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly continues to puzzle us all.
Amid a flurry of post-dismissal stories that accentuated his lack of people skills, Kelly called Angelo Cataldi, the host of the Philadelphia's most popular morning sports talk radio show, to thank him for his time in a private conversation off the air. Kelly and Cataldi had a sponsored Monday morning interview series throughout the season on 94WIP.
"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 his show (via Philly.com). "He could not have been nicer. He was very philosophical about what happened to him, very confident of his future, and I couldn't believe it."
For some background on how bizarre of a move this was, check out a feature we did at the beginning of the season on the talk radio landscape in Philadelphia and how they responded to an introvert like Kelly. Cataldi, who is fair, but also quite eccentric and unafraid to call out a head coach, was one of the piece's central characters.
"Not only did (former Phillies manager) Charlie Manuel not call me, he refused to call me during the time he was the manager for eight years," Cataldi said. "This guy did."
Kelly's college quarterback, Marcus Mariota, said in a recent interview that he thinks Kelly will be successful wherever he goes and maybe this is part of the reason why. Kelly might develop certain relationships at the micro level. At the moment, there are no shortage of unhappy Eagles players -- current and former -- that are lining up to talk about what a distant autocrat Kelly was. But then we hear about moments like this.
Maybe this is a plan by Kelly's people to humanize the head coach. But maybe there is an element of Kelly's personality that just did not -- or could not -- shine through in Philadelphia.
The pivotal takeaway from owners that will interview Kelly in the coming weeks for job openings must be that he has learned from his mistakes. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie quietly eviscerated Kelly's style during a 20-minute news conference Wednesday, and mentioned how the next coach needs to be accountable and possess "emotional intelligence."
Small gestures like this one could go a long way toward proving Kelly has some after all.