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Jonathan Gannon Addresses Tampering Call: 'It Was A Mistake'

Cardinals, Eagles worked out draft pick resolution before draft

Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon talks to the media on Tuesday at the Dignity Health Training Center.
Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon talks to the media on Tuesday at the Dignity Health Training Center.

Jonathan Gannon apologized on Tuesday for the phone call with Monti Ossenfort before Gannon was hired as the Cardinals head coach, an impermissible connection that forced the Cardinals to swap third-round picks with Gannon's former employer, the Philadelphia Eagles.

"It's a mistake that we made, and the league rectified it and we've moved on," Gannon said.

Gannon said that, despite reports it was a Zoom call, it was a phone call. Ossenfort already had a relationship with Gannon, having spoken to him in the past when Ossenfort, a Titans executive at the time, was trying to get a better sense of potential head coach candidates if Ossenfort happened to get a GM job.

Ossenfort reached out to Gannon after the Eagles' NFC Championship win to send congratulations and give advice on how to maneuver through a Super Bowl appearance. He also asked Gannon that if the Cardinals' coaching search lasted until after the Super Bowl if Gannon might be interested in talking, Gannon said.

"I didn't hear about it (again) until after the (Super Bowl) that we played when (Eagles GM) Howie (Roseman) came up and talked to me about how 'Arizona wants to interview you,' " Gannon said.

NFL rules prohibit teams from talking to coaching candidates still in the playoffs unless an initial interview had taken place early in the postseason. Ossenfort was not hired by the Cardinals until after that first window had closed.

The Cardinals self-reported the incident, the joint statement between the teams said. The Cardinals gave third third-round pick (No. 66) to Philadelphia and the Eagles sent back a third-round pick (No. 94) as well as a 2024 fifth-round pick.

The subject has been broached by Philadelphia media that the incident impacted Gannon -- the Eagles' defensive coordinator at the time -- in the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni disputed that idea.

"I think you're probably trying to bait me into something here, but I know Gannon gave everything he had to that game," Sirianni said. "Everything he had for that Super Bowl, he gave to this team. No reaction because I know where his heart was in it, so yeah."

Ossenfort also acknowledged his mistake and apologized last week.

"I had talked to Monti before, a couple years ago (or) a year ago, so I picked up," Gannon said. "That was impermissible contact so that's what it is."