Against the Lions, Patrick Peterson became the first defensive player since at least 1970 to catch a pass and complete a pass in the same game. It was a significant feat, so his gloves and the ball from that game are now in Canton, Ohio, on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s not the first time this has happened for Peterson. When he tied the NFL record with four punt return touchdowns in a season in 2011 as a rookie, the Hall took Peterson’s cleats from his Nov. 6 return against the Rams.
As for Peterson’s day, it was all in a day’s work. (Even if he admitted he might not have made his catch.)
“I prepare myself for these types of moments in the offseason,” Peterson said. “I believe I’m in probably the best shape on the team. I work extremely hard in the offseason and it pays dividends in the season. When my number is called I’m definitely ready to go. I believe that I can play pretty much every position and pretty much every second on the clock. That’s how I feel, but I just want to continue going out there and getting better each and every week, doing the things I need to do to help my team win ball games.”
As for what’s next? “We’ve got a lot planned up our sleeves,” Peterson said.
Tags: Hall of Fame, Kurt Warner, Patrick Peterson
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Hall of Fame, Larry Wilson, NFL, St Louis Cardinals
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Larry Fitzgerald has a close relationship with newly minted Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, dating back to Fitz’s days as a Vikings ballboy while Carter was a star in Minnesota. Carter sees Fitz, despite their age difference, as a friend. So this summer, before Fitz held his annual camp in Minnesota, he called on his friend Carter — a story Carter relayed to Fitz’s father, Larry Fitzgerald, Sr., on the GameDay Gold radio show.
“Larry knocked at my door, 1:30 in the morning, he said, ‘(Last season) was the worst season of my life. I need you to come to Minnesota for five days,’ ” said Carter (below interviewing Fitz for ESPN). “I said, ‘Larry, I don’t have five days. I’ve got to be in L.A. next week. I’ve got the camp one day.’ He said, ‘I need you. I need you to look at my game and make sure because I’ve got to have a good season.’ “
On that point, Fitzgerald — who can be argued had his worst season in Arizona in large part because of quarterback play but also because his own play slipped some — is right. He had 71 catches, 798 yards, a career-low four touchdowns and tons of frustration.
Fitz left Carter’s house an hour later. Carter’s wife said to Carter, “You can’t make this stuff up, you’ve gotta go. You don’t have a choice. You think you have a choice but you don’t.”
“We’re connected in a very, very special way,” Carter said of his relationship with the Cardinals’ Pro Bowl wideout. “He called, I’m here. I’m here to give him a start to be better. I believe his confidence is going to come back being associated with (QB) Carson (Palmer). His weight is way down, he’s at fighting weight. Right now it’s more mental. You get to the point where you can accomplish physical things, but what he went through last year and how to get over that hump, it’s all mental.
“I am expecting a huge year from Larry. A lot of that has to do with Carson Palmer but a lot has to do with the trial he went through last year. I think that will propel him over the next five, six years.”
Tags: Cris Carter, Hall of Fame, Larry Fitzgerald
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Who will be the first Arizona Cardinal to make it into the Hall of Fame? That could be an interesting race.
Former cornerback Aeneas Williams is among the 17 finalists for induction this year, just as he was last year. Williams, drafted by the Cardinals in 1991, is the first homegrown Arizona Cardinal to have a chance at the Hall. He deserves to get there at some point. He made eight Pro Bowls in his career (a decade with the Cards, and then four seasons with the St. Louis Rams), seven as a cornerback. He made one after moving to safety with the Rams. He had 55 interceptions, nine that he returned for touchdowns. Cowboys Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin has often talked about how hard Williams made his life. He was one of the game’s all-time best, although his career was underplayed because the Cardinals were often bad during his playing days.
Williams may be in a waiting game. If he doesn’t get in this year — and it will be tough with the names there — when would it happen?
In the meantime, quarterback Kurt Warner waits for his chance for eligibility. Warner isn’t homegrown, not after successfully breaking in with the Rams. But there is little question that the only reason Warner’s career elevated to possible Hall of Fame status was because he had a rebirth with the Cardinals. Without those years from 2005-2009 — particularly his renaissance with Ken Whisenhunt from 2007-2009 — this wouldn’t even be a topic. Warner’s first year of eligibility comes after the 2014 season, when, in a nice twist of coincidence, the Hall vote will take place at the Super Bowl in Arizona. (Team president Michael Bidwill also said on Radio Row the other day the team’s plans to eventually honor Warner themselves — perhaps the Ring of Honor? — would likely wait until Warner’s Hall status is possible.)
Many believe Warner is a surefire get-in-right-away Hall of Famer, but we will see. There are some significant players that have come up for the Hall of late and will be reaching eligibility over the next few years. There will be a logjam of worthy candidates. If Williams doesn’t get in this year, it’s because of the guys who he is up against. Finalists include Cris Carter, Warren Sapp, Tim Brown, Will Shields, Michael Strahan and Jonathan Ogden, among others. Hopefully, Williams gets in sooner rather than later. Who knows? Maybe they could both get in the same year, in Arizona.
This year’s class is announced at 3:30 p.m. Arizona time Saturday.
UPDATE: Williams did not make it, although he did get to the final 10.
Tags: Aeneas Williams, Hall of Fame, Kurt Warner
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At each year’s induction ceremonies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame includes the chance for each Hall of Famer to return to Canton, don his gold jacket and take part in the festivities. That’s something Cardinals assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm — inducted in 2010 — wants to do as much as he can.
This year, he can’t. The Cardinals won’t even arrive in Canton until Saturday night, and besides, Grimm said, “there are priorities.”
“I’ve got three young kids we drafted and a couple more young kids (on the offensive line), those are priorities,” Grimm said. “I’d rather spend an extra day in meeting time then sitting there in a gold jacket. That’s reality.”
The three draftees are guard Senio Kelemete, tackle Bobby Massie and tackle Nate Potter. Massie and Kelemete are second-string. They can use the time with Grimm.
But that doesn’t mean Grimm isn’t looking forward to the trip back to be around “a very humbling weekend.” Grimm will be part of the private tour the team will take of the Hall of Fame, and he still hasn’t had a chance to see his bronze bust in the Hall.
“I have the replica they give you but I want to see the one in Canton,” Grimm said. “I’m glad it happened. I didn’t play the game to get into the Hall of Fame. It’s a great reward. But it was getting to the point where family and friends were saying, ‘This is the year, this is the year.’ I was more excited just so I could stop hearing from people, ‘Aww, you got screwed.’ “
As for his gold jacket, that’s staying behind. He’ll wear Cardinal red this weekend. “I’m not even going to take it,” Grimm said. “It’s hanging in the closet.”
Tags: Hall of Fame, Russ Grimm
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Trying to run some errands on a Friday in prep for going to training camp — that doesn’t mean I didn’t post a story about the top 10 questions the Cards face heading to Flagstaff — I just wanted to drop a couple of small notes:
– Ken Whisenhunt’s last free weekend is being spent at the American Century Championship, the annual celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Whiz was a plus-11 today on the first day of the three-day event, using the modified Stableford scoring system. Actor Jack Wagner and former Major League pitcher Mark Mulder are tied for the lead at plus-22. Whiz played with former NFLers Marshall Faulk (plus-14) and Vinny Testaverde (plus-11) — I wonder if Vinny and Whiz talked at all about how Testaverde turned down the Cards in 2007 when they tried to sign him after Matt Leinart got hurt, instead picking the Panthers and then beating the Cards a few days later.
– In just a couple of weeks, Sunday, Aug. 5, the Cards will be playing in the Hall of Fame game. When I think of the Hall of Fame, I think of burnt pizza. OK, not really, but that was the best segue I can come up with to have to take a look at this entertaining video of Cards coaches being flown by Michael Bidwill to Canton a couple years ago, a surprise for Russ Grimm when he was being inducted to the Hall.
– At long last, we are unveiling a Cardinals’ app for your smartphones and iPad Monday. And guess what? It’s free. For more info, click here.
Have a good weekend. I’ll be talking to you all a lot more very soon.
Tags: Hall of Fame, Ken Whisenhunt, Michael Bidwill
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A couple of tidbits as I return from some time off:
The NFL’s draftees are in Canton this week for the annual rookie symposium, a plan last in place back in 2008. A brainchild of Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, who thought it was important young players understand the history of the league, the draftees get to see the Hall of Fame while attending seminars how to deal with life as a pro athlete. Below is a picture of some Cards’ rookies looking at a Hall display (that’s Nate Potter on the left, Michael Floyd on the right). There’s also a shot of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who grew up in a military family, checking out the Pat Tillman display. (A photo gallery is here.)
– In other news, longtime ESPN anchor Chris Berman, who has been the face of that network’s TV coverage, will finally get a chance to do a couple games of play-by-play in the NFL this season. The network trumpeted his placement on the second “Monday Night Football” game of opening weekend — Chargers at Raiders — with the annual doubleheader that night, working with Trent Dilfer. But Berman’s actual debut in the booth for play-by-play will be a couple weeks earlier, calling the Cardinals’ preseason game in Tennessee that will be televised nationally on ESPN.
“That’s great news,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said on Berman’s move to the booth. “I don’t know if there’s anyone who brings more enthusiasm and passion to his job than Chris Berman. For a lot of fans and people involved with the game, Chris is synonymous with the big time NFL events so this it’s exciting that he’s doing our preseason game against the Titans.”
Tags: ESPN, Hall of Fame, Ken Whisenhunt, Michael Floyd, Michael Irvin, Nate Potter, Pat Tillman
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Former Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams made it to the Hall of Fame’s final list of 10, but he was not elected in the end to Canton. It’s not a surprise. The fact Williams did make the final 10 in his first year as a finalist does bode well for the future, although with the Hall, there’s no way to know exactly how long the wait will be — or even if the wait for sure will ever end.
The 2012 Hall of Fame class included running back Curtis Martin, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, center Dermontti Dawson, tackle Willie Roaf, running backs Curtis Martin, defensive end Chris Doleman and senior committee pick Jack Butler, a one-time cornerback.
The Cardinals’ beat writer for the Arizona Republic, Kent Somers, was the presenter for Aeneas in the voting room and is Arizona’s voter. He tweeted out this message: “Aeneas Williams did not make the final 5. Think he’ll be there in the future, however.” Given that Kent will have a pulse of what happens in the voting realm, that would seem to be a good sign.
(Kent, by the way, blogged about his thoughts and ballots during the Hall meeting today.)
This is going to be a yearly blog post, methinks. Would be interesting if it turned out Williams and Kurt Warner ended up in the same Hall class.
Tags: Aeneas Williams, Hall of Fame
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Former Cards cornerback Aeneas Williams, who was the anchor of the secondary from the time he was drafted in 1991 until he was traded to the Rams after the 2000 season, was among 15 finalists of the 2012 Hall of Fame announced Saturday.
The Hall class will be voted on and announced the day before the Super Bowl. Among the other finalists are receiver Cris Carter, running back Jerome Bettis and coach Bill Parcells.
Williams made seven Pro Bowls as a cornerback and another one as a safety, the position he played during two of his final three seasons in St. Louis. He had 55 interceptions in his career, returning nine for touchdowns. The Cardinals inducted him into their Ring of Honor during the 2008 season.
Tags: Aeneas Williams, Hall of Fame
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First, Patrick Peterson achieves NFL history. Then his shoes are immortalized.
The shoes the rookie wore during his 99-yard overtime winning touchdown punt return Nov. 6 against the Rams have been sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and are on display in Canton. And the request to put the shoes was even before Peterson’s NFL-record-tying fourth TD return this past weekend.
“When I heard the Hall of Fame called, I was obviously extremely flattered,” Peterson told the Hall of Fame website. “To have your name mentioned alongside some of the best players ever to play the game is humbling.”
(The picture of the display with the shoes is below, in the bottom right of the case. They are alongside a pair of mementos from the 2010 season: A jersey of Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas worn when he caught the Hail Mary deflected game-winner against the Texans, and a jersey of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick from the game in which he became the first player to pass for 300 yards, run for 50, throw for four touchdown passes and run for two TDs in a single game.)
I remember the last time the Hall came calling for something.
A quick thought on Peterson: It’s amazing to me that, as much as he dominated college, he’s been a better punt returner in the pros thus far. He averaged 16.1 yards a return with two touchdowns last year at LSU. This year, it’s 18.0 and four touchdowns.
Tags: Hall of Fame, Patrick Peterson
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