With Washington wait, a new #58

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2015 – 9:47 am

There is no new news on the status of Daryl Washington — I don’t know why it’s been so long, and no one I have talked to has answers, or is giving any — but there is news about his jersey No. 58. Undrafted rookie linebacker Edwin Jackson will now be wearing that number. That’s the reality of a preseason game coming up, a 90-man roster and a handful of jersey numbers already retired (and not that the Cards are necessarily moving on from Washington.)

The NFL has a rule that says two players on the same team cannot be on the field at the same time wearing the same number. This time of year, it’s not unusual for the Cards (or other teams) to give an offensive and defensive player the same number, since offense and defense wear opposite colors in practice. That doesn’t happen in a game, of course.

As of Saturday, the Cardinals had two sets of players sharing numbers. Running back Marion Grice and safety Harold Jones-Quartey each wore No. 23. Safety Brandon Person and running back Paul Lasike each were wearing No. 34. Because there was a good chance those players could end up on the field at the same time for special teams, multiple shuffles were in order.

That led to Jackson, who had been wearing 45 (and who had a big finish Saturday lighting up Lasike on a hit, pictured below), ending up with the linebacker-friendly No. 58.

The Cardinals could “unretire” one of their retired numbers, but that wasn’t going to happen. For a linebacker, the only options there were Pat Tillman’s 40 or Marshall Goldberg’s 99. (The Cards have five retired numbers: Tillman, Goldberg, 8 for Larry Wilson, 77 for Stan Maudlin and 88 for J.V. Cain. This the biggest reason why the Cardinals don’t retire numbers and instead use a Ring of Honor — NFL teams need jersey numbers.)

Once the Cardinals cut to 53, some jersey numbers inevitably will change again. That always happens. We’ll see where Jackson is at that point, and what happens with 58 then.


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1 down, 11 to go for Fitz?

Posted by Darren Urban on July 2, 2013 – 11:04 am

The University of Pittsburgh announced yesterday that it would be retiring the No. 1 jersey in honor of Larry Fitzgerald’s tenure as a Panther, a pretty remarkable achievement when you consider Fitz played just two seasons in college. (Because Fitz went to prep school for a year after high school to improve his grades, he was able to go to the NFL after his true sophomore season.) Fitzgerald was a beast in college. In his final Pitt season in 2003, despite playing for a Pitt team with limited weapons and drawing all the attention of every opponent, Fitz had 92 catches for 1,672 yards (for an 18.2 avg.) and 22 touchdowns. Guess being the No. 3 pick overall was kind of a no-brainer, even if it meant passing on some quarterbacks that turned out to be pretty good themselves.

No word in the announcement, by the way, when the jersey retiring will take place. (And, as a side note, when talking to Larry Fitzgerald Sr. last year for a Fitz story I was working on, he said his son thought about not going to Pitt but Michigan State. “He thought real hard,” Fitzgerald Sr. said, “because his girlfriend was there.”)

Anyway, Fitz’s number being retired usually brings up the secondary question: Would, somewhere down the road, the Cardinals retire No. 11? The answer is probably not. And it doesn’t have anything to do with how great Fitzgerald’s career ends up.

The Cardinals simply don’t retire many numbers. They put players in the Ring of Honor, which doesn’t take their jersey number off the market. Hall of Famers like Dan Dierdorf and Roger Wehrli are in the Ring of Honor yet their Nos. 72 and 22, respectively, have been worn often (of late, Brandon Keith and currently DE Everrette Thompson have had 72 and 22 has been worn by Duane Starks, Emmitt Smith and, today, CB Bryan McCann.)

The Cardinals have retired five jersey numbers since the organization started in 1898. Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson (8), all-around star back and war hero Marshall Goldberg (99), safety/war hero Pat Tillman (40), and two players who died while on the roster, tight end J.V. Cain (88) and tackle Stan Mauldin (77). There are 13 people in the team’s Ring of Honor, including Wilson, Tillman and Goldberg but not Cain or Mauldin. That RoH number will rise when safety Adrian Wilson goes in, and I’d expect Fitz to be there someday as well. He just might not be able to take 11 with him, at least not permanently.


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Getting patriotic with Whiz

Posted by Darren Urban on June 15, 2011 – 3:46 pm

The news came out today that coach Ken Whisenhunt will be one of four NFL coaches, present and past (Gary Kubiak and father and son Mora as well) heading to the Persian Gulf to visit U.S. military troops and help boost morale while they are over there serving our country. Obviously, many connect the Cardinals with the military because of Pat Tillman, but former safety/general manager Larry Wilson was one of the first players to take part in one of these USO tours (I’ve repeated posting Wilson’s Vietnam picture below, with the Rams’ Dick Bass in the middle with the beret and Dandy Don Meredith on the far right. Wilson is second from the left).

It’s different than back in Vietnam. Doing some research for this, I came across an article that quoted former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell, who apparently was in the service before going to the NFL and then went to Vietnam in 1968 for one of these trips. Russell was actually handed a machine gun and asked to ride shotgun because they didn’t have anyone else to spare. Russell even did a two-hour guard shift at the hotel, M-16 at the ready.

I am guessing Whisenhunt won’t have to deal with that, although he did say things have changed in the region — after the raid on bin Laden — since he said he’d take the trip. It was low-key for Larry Fitzgerald back in 2009 when he went too.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you stand on why soldiers are where they are in the world. It matters that they are willing to do a job many, frankly, aren’t. For what they do for us, it makes sense to send over celebrities — in this case, NFL coaches — to remind them their work isn’t forgotten.

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The greatest 75 draft picks

Posted by Darren Urban on March 15, 2010 – 1:31 pm

And now, we take a brief breather on free-agency debate …

The NFL and are putting together, for the draft, the greatest 75 draft picks of all time, with fans getting a chance to vote. Each of the 32 franchises had 10 players selected as nominees, which not only had to be good players but bring value to whatever round they were chosen (so does, for example Aeneas Williams in the third round mean more than Peyton Manning first overall?). The list coincides with the 75th NFL draft.

The 10 best Cardinals’ draft picks chosen were (in alphabetical order): wide receiver Anquan Boldin, tackle Dan Dierdorf (pictured below blocking for Jim Ottis), wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver/defensive back Roy Green, safety Tim McDonald, tight end Jackie Smith, running back Charlie Trippi, cornerback Roger Wehrli, Williams, and safety Larry Wilson.

Players are pitted, randomly, in head-to-head matchups and fans vote (through April 18th). Picks 11 through 75 will be unveiled on and the NFL Network from April 19-22, with the top 10 unveiled in the network’s draft coverage April 22. Don’t forget the draft is over three days this year. The first round is Thursday night, April 22. The second and third rounds are on Friday night, April 23. And the final four rounds are Saturday, April 24.

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About DRC’s high-stepping …

Posted by Darren Urban on October 16, 2009 – 9:53 am

There is no question Hall of Famer Larry Wilson is a fan of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as are most with the young cornerback. But as thrilling as DRC’s interception and subsequent return for a touchdown was last weekend against Houston, his high-stepping over the last 20 yards or so — at one point, it was hard to tell if Texans tight end Owen Daniels, thanks to DRC’s slowing with the leg kicks, might actually get to DRC and shove him out before the end zone — left some shaking their head. Including Wilson.

“If there was one thing I’d say, I’d like to see them remain profesional, make sure you get to the end zone before you celebrate,” said Wilson, who attended the game Sunday. “I stood up and yelled, ‘Run for gosh sakes! Run!’ ”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged after the game he was concerned about the move and noted “We’ll have a discussion about that.”

The discussion has happened, DRC said. But in a lot of ways, the thing that creates the confidence in DRC is the same thing that allows the high-stepping to seep out in that situation.

“It’s the same thing,” DRC said of his confidence and how he reacts to a big play. “You want to showboat a little bit. Interceptions are hard to come by in this league and when you get your hands on one, you get that feeling. Those feelings and emotions came out of me having a bad, bad week before.”

So as far as DRC changing his habits?

“Coaches said something, but you know, as far as toning it down … it’s not looking very good,” DRC said. “That’s just not me.”


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