Found December 12, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
Buffalo_bills_v_c1f0
TEMPE, Ariz. On the 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2012, team spokesperson Mark Dalton noted that, entering this season, only 12 players had spent 12 seasons or more of service with the Cardinals. Strong safety Adrian Wilson became No. 13 when he took the field for the clubs opener on Sept. 9. Will that No. 13 distinction be unlucky? Its a tough question to answer. Clearly, little has gone right for the Cardinals since uniform No. 13, Kurt Warner, retired, but one constant through these three years of postseason-less football has been Wilson. Hes played with passion, hes played with precision, hes played through injuries, and hes played with a physical edge that makes ball carriers wary when hes closing on them. Before the season began, Wilson even agreed to play for less money. The Cardinals extended his contract by two years into 2015, but the deal included a significant pay cut. Wilson was supposed to make 6.5 million this season. Instead, hell earn 1.5 million, plus a 1.5 million signing bonus. Between this season and next, the lost salary for Wilson will amount to about 10 million. Wilson was OK with that alteration because he was giddy about the prospects of playing two additional years -- until the Cardinals decided to play him less as this season wore on. Hes a prideful guy, and when it first happened to him, I didnt really say much to him because I know it was tough. But I know first-hand about this, said fellow safety Kerry Rhodes, who saw his playing time diminished in a 2009 Jets defense that had previously been tailored to his play-making abilities. It wasnt to this point that hes dealing with, but not to be in on every down is tough. In the first nine games, Wilson played nearly all of the Cardinals defensive snaps. In the past four games, he has played anywhere from half to 80 percent. That doesnt sit well with a player who takes as much pride in his craft as Wilson. Its gut-wrenching, Wilson said Wednesday. Obviously, I want to play. Whatever role I do have, ultimately, I have to play that role and do the best I can. Those are the cards Im dealt, unfortunately. One of defensive coordinator Ray Hortons favorite phrases is that the NFL is a young mans game. Wilson, 33, is not young in NFL parlance, and Horton has chosen to replace him in nickel situations with Rashad Johnson and James Sanders filling in. It is difficult to know for certain if that trend will continue or if, with the season spiraling out of reach, the Cardinals are evaluating younger players. But there has been one consistent knock on Wilsons game that makes its fair to assume these changes are not temporary. A lot of people say I cant cover, he said. A lot of fans say I cant cover. Ive been dealing with that my whole career, so this season is no different. But what if the coaches also believe it? What if this reduced role is as good as its going to get the rest of his time in Arizona? Can Wilson live with that? My head is on finishing out these last there games, said Wilson, who added that he will take stock of his situation when the season has ended. Thats what I have to do. Ultimately, Im not the decision maker, so thats all I can do. Its hard to imagine Wilson playing anywhere else, not just because this has been his only home, but because his feelings for this franchise are so strong. Remember this quote from training camp? I gave my heart to this team, he said. Theres no way I could leave here. Theres no way I could put my heart in another team. The Cards might not want that, anyway. While the team has done a good job of developing depth along its defensive line and in its linebacking corps, neither Sanders nor Johnson jumps out as an obvious replacement at safety because neither is a big-time play-maker like Wilson has been most of his career. Beyond that, both Johnson and Sanders will be free agents, so theres no guarantee either will be back. Replacing Wilson is no simple matter. The Cards might need to draft and groom his replacement, just as Wilson once replaced Pat Tillman. In the meantime, Wilson promised that his discontent with his playing time will never equate to discontent with the current coaching staff or discord in the locker room. Thats not me. Thats not who I am, he said. Right now, its a tough season and this is a tough stretch, so they need the leaders to be leaders. They need the older guys to lead the way, stay positive and work hard. I try my best to do that, and thats not going to stop. As for the notion that he might just walk away from the game if his role doesnt suit him, Wilson smiled. I can still play, and I know I can still play at a high level, so thats not even under consideration, he said. Well see what happens. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Adrian Wilson Could Be Done In Arizona

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic writes that Adrian Wilson‘s time with Cardinals could be coming to an end following the team’s final three games of the season. Wilson’s playing time has been reduced in recent weeks, which has him wondering how much longer he’ll be a part of the Cardinals organization. “It hurts,” Wilson said. “It hurts. They can give you 1,000...

Larry Fitzgerald wants to stay with Cardinals, believes team has not quit

While his father believes the Arizona Cardinals have quit on the season, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a different take. “We’re professionals. That will never happen,” Fitzgerald said in his weekly interview with Dial Global Radio. “We’re going to continue to play. We’re going to continue to practice. We’re going to continue to prepare every week like we would...

Kolb's season over after being placed on IR

TEMPE, Ariz. The Cardinals placed Kevin Kolb on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season. The writing for that move was on the wall when the Cards signed quarterback Brian Hoyer off waivers on Monday. When asked if this move was a possibility on Monday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said that would be a medical decision, but he no longer seemed hopeful that Kolb would return this season...

Cardinals place QB Kolb on IR

The Arizona Cardinals have given up hope that Kevin Kolb will return this season, placing the only quarterback who had success with the team this season on injured reserve and naming rookie Ryan Lindley as starter for Sunday's game against Detroit. Kolb led the team to a 4-0 start to the season, but went down with a rib injury in Week 6 and has not played since. The team placed...

Cardinals put Kolb on injured reserve

The Arizona Cardinals placed quarterback Kevin Kolb on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday. Kolb led the Cardinals to a 4-0 start before he was sidelined with a rib injury in a game against Buffalo. Arizona has spiraled downward with nine straight losses in Kolb's absence. In his place, the Cardinals have used John Skelton and rookie Ryan Lindley this season with little...

Cardinals to start Hoyer at QB

The Arizona Cardinals will give Brian Hoyer his first NFL start, less than three weeks after the team claimed him off waivers from Pittsburgh. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wednesday that the former Michigan State quarterback will start for the Cardinals in their season finale Sunday at San Francisco. Hoyer, who spent three seasons as a backup in New England and was out of a job for...

Kevin Kolb Placed On IR

Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) has been placed on injured reserve, ending another disappointing season.Fantasy Spin:The Cardinals' offense is ranked 32nd out of 32 teams and will have to live with John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and newly-signed Brian Hoyer as their quarterbacks over the final three weeks.

Seahawks Fan Has This Amazing Sign Ripped From His Hands By Cardinals DE Calais Campbell

Remember when the Cardinals started the season 4-0 and were the cute team in the NFC? Heading into Sunday’s game at Seattle they were sitting at 4-8, riding an eight game losing streak. This wise-ass Seahawks fan held this sign up right in front of the Cardinals tunnel. Cardinals DE Calais Campbell didn’t think it was funny. Not only have the Cardinals quit, they can’t even...

Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t agree with his dad’s assessment of the Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald’s dad went on a Twitter rant the other day and made it clear that he believes the Arizona Cardinals have thrown in the towel on this season. During an interview with Jim Gray on Dial Global Sports, Fitzgerald said that he doesn’t agree with his father’s opinion. “I’m in a unique situation with my father being a media member,” Fitzgerald said, via ProFootballTalk...

Making sense of Rex Ryan's backup quarterback quandary

Tim Tebow hasn't been healthy enough to see the field for a month, yet New York Jets coach Rex Ryan insists Tebow remains the No. 2 quarterback. Meanwhile, Greg McElroy, Gang Green's third-stringer, is the only quarterback not named Mark Sanchez to run New York's offense in a regular season game this year. The healthy and capable McElroy replaced Sanchez in the second...
Cardinals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.