A couple of years ago, the NFL began a program in which alumni of teams would come on stage in New York during the draft to announce that team’s second-round draft pick. It made sense. Commissioner Roger Goodell handled the first round and, in this world where the NFL draft continues to grow in stature every year it seems (and as a TV event), why not have some famous retired faces up on the screen as a nod to years past? (If a team doesn’t have a second-round pick, the player announces the third rounder.)
This year, the Cardinals will be represented by fullback Larry Centers, the do-everything-man from the 1990s who was one of the faces of the Cardinals’ historic 1998 playoff run. (He was also the face of the change that team underwent the following offseason, when he was cut much to the chagrin of the fan base, but that’s a tale for another day.) Centers was the offense much of the time, growing from his rookie year in 1990 to grabbing 101 receptions in 1995 and another 99 in 1996 and getting in some rushing attempts along the way (he was never a rushing workhorse but he did have 115 carries one season, a far cry with how fullbacks are used these days.) He was a three-time Pro Bowler, twice doing it in Arizona.
After he was released, he played in Buffalo, Washington and New England, but it’s hard to see him as anything but a Cardinal. The news today reminds me of one of my all-time favorite anecdotes told to me by Kent Somers (I promise, Kent, I was thinking of this before today’s tweet) from the time before I was covering the team. Kent was talking to Centers one day when the all-around star offered up his own catchy slogan: “Larry runs, Larry catches, Larry blocks, Larry Centers.”
Tags: draft, Larry Centers
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