BGN - When I first found your stuff on Youtube a few nights after the draft and wrote about it, I joked that "on the Saturday he was drafted it became a whole lot harder for a young reporter to get 4 or 5 exclusive interviews with Kevin Kolb." Between hanging out with Kevin in the gym, at the combine, on the practice field, and in his living room it was pretty amazing access you had. How were you able to score that interview?
AM - I recently graduated from UH, so I saw all his handy work for myself. I spent every game in the press box and witnessed all the different members of the media follow Kolb. He made a great interview every time, so they ate it up...when they were there. Houston is a big place: Texans, Astros, Rockets, Aeros, UH, Rice, TSU, HBU, St. Edward's, minor league teams. You get my point. The real killer is that UT, TX A&M and Baylor are in a few hour's drive from here. Three Big 12's versus our SWC hometown team. Needless to say, UH was rarely caught on the radar with the media or any of the big-talkers - like ESPN's coverage, etc.
Kolb's agent is Jeff Nalley. He is a good friend of McClain( John McClain reporter for the Chronicle and sports radio personality ). From day one, Kolb has been very gracious for our interest in him. We all had lunch together a few times and sat around talking about all sorts of stuff. he is a very down-to-earth guy. McClain always says that he is the most outstanding NFL candidate he has ever met. McClain's been around the block so I'm buying it...
BGN - Something that caught my ear in the interview you did with Kevin and his wife Whitney was when she said she'd like to stay in the Dallas or Houston area. How do you think the Kolbs will handle their move east to a new city?
AM - His wife is just a doll. She is such a great gal. She mentioned the Houston/Dallas because that made it easier for family to see them. On a separate occasion (after the Texans took Schaub) they confirmed the expectations of moving. She mentioned Philly right from the start. He had said his meetings went really well there, so I was not surprised. They are both from a very little country town - Stephenville, where they met at the local high school. Her dad was an All-state football player, so he said that is what first attracted him. I asked the same question about handling a new place. She is very confidant. They handled Houston at a even younger age, so I know they will be fine in Philly.
They are fully prepared to face the passionate audience of Eagle fans as well. Kolb is very blessed to have selected by an already-established program. He is a great young man that will never disappoint anyone with questionable character issues or the absence of morals. they are a very conservative little duo, and I wish all the best for them.
BGN - There were several moments, especially with his agent, that there were implications that certain teams were very interested in Kevin. The agent even mentioned a scout from an NFC team that said he thought Kevin was the best team in the draft. In a recent interview, Kevin even told Fox sports that he was getting serious indications from the Eagles that they might pick him. Did at any point in your time with Kevin did he mention any teams he thought may take him and where?
AM - He was worked out by a couple of teams. Baltimore, Texans (more than once) and others. We mentioned others in the videos somewhere...I'm forgetting a few. he liked Philly. They took really good care of him. they sat around and talked about "good ol' boy" things and not just football. Philly even came here to see him at UH just before the draft.
BGN - Philadelphia is a notoriously demanding pro sports town, especially as it relates to the Eagles and even moreso as it relates to the Eagles' QB. People talk Eagles here every day of the year, they do Eagles chants at nearly every public gathering in the city, and they look at this team and it's players under a microscope. You could hear boos one minute and the next have 60,000 people singing "Fly Eagles Fly" to you. It takes a certain kind of person to to accept that kind of pressure and handle it. Did you learn anything about Kevin in your time with him that would tell you he can or can't thrive in this situation?
AM - Kolb is a guy who stands taller under pressure. I have seen him represent an entire football team for four years - three bowls in all that time. He has answered every question and has faced every form of media when asked. He will never read anything about him or watch any feedback on the internet or TV - and neither does his wife. He asks his family to do the same, but I know his mom cheats a a little, because she has thanked me personally for my work (which has not seen - not even one - it's kinda funny).
His one source for information is the coach. There is no other influence...unless it's at home, and his wife is bothered by where he hangs a towel (that was a fun conversation to watch). He is fully aware of the die-hard Philly fanbase and will not be tortured by any if they turn against him. He will, however, deal directly with a great head coach. That will probably be more intense than anything else.
BGN - To an Eagles fan, there is no greater rival than the Dallas Cowboys and there is no greater sin in life than rooting for those Dallas Cowboys. I truly believe there are fans in this town that would accept the Eagles going 2-14 if their only two wins were against the Cowboys. Now, from watching your videos I got the distinct impression that Kevin was a Cowboys fan. First, is this true? Second, do you think he understands the enormity of this rivalry? And finally, do you think he will be prepared to renounce his evil Cowboy fandom and pledge to destroy them twice a year?
AM - Kevin always said he wanted to stay in Houston...probably so they didn't have to box up all their belongings. His hometown is much closer to Dallas than to Houston, so there may have been a little childhood attachment to the Cowgirls (obviously, you can see my resentment too). The point is: he mentioned the Eagles from the very first time they had interest in him and it never went away. He loves the staff there and they both had their heads set on it. UH's biggest rival is Rice University, and they crushed Rice. I expect he will work the same against Dallas. I promise he will make Philly Eagles fans proud and happy.
BGN - Have you spoken with Kevin or any of the Kolbs since the draft?
AM - Kevin Kolb is a conservative country boy who has always been a gentleman. He said on air the other day that the contract will be completed and signed asap because it is not his personality to drag it out. "I want to get to work."
BGN - Finally, is there anything you want to say about Kevin the player or Kevin the person that we may not already know?
AM - Last story: after a game, a little kid asked KK for his towel. It was really sweaty and dirty with grass and mud. kk apologized to the kid for not doing better. He said he would get it right the next time. I read that story from a parent and UM alumni on coogfans.com. it sounded just as I expected.
PHILLY, you got yourself a great catch!!
Much thanks to Anna-Megan Raley for taking some time to answer some question. To further feed your Anna-Megan fix check out her video blog with Kolb at the Houston Chronicle and her page on Sports Radio 610 in Houston. If anyone has any other questions for Anna-Megan just post them in comments and I'll make sure she sees them.