The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are preparing for the biggest game of the year -- the Super Bowl -- to determine who ends the season as champs. Sadly. the Arizona Cardinals are not in the big game, as they finished the season 5-11, losing 11 of their final 12 games.
However, the Cardinals are well represented. There are two players from each team that once played for the Cards, one that should have been on the team and one that could be on the Cardinals in the near future.
On the Ravens roster, they sport receiver Anquan Boldin, orginally drafted in 2003 by the Arizona Cardinals. He played seven seasons with Arizona, the final two being playoff teams. He was traded to the Ravens before the 2010 for a draft pick.
On the far end of the roster for Baltimore is Sean Considine, a reserve safety and special teams player. He was a member of the Cardinals in 2011 for the latter half of the year before signing with the Ravens as a free agent.
Baltimore also has a dominant player that probably should have been drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. linebacker Terrell Suggs was an ASU product and was the best pass rusher in college football. The Cards picked sixth in that year's draft. They needed a pass rusher and he wanted to be drafted by the Cards. And in classic Cardinals form, they traded down, passing up on one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and picking up a couple of players (Brant Johnson and Calvin Pace) who did not have much impact on the franchise.
On the 49ers side of things, they have a pair of veterans. They have a reserve offensive lineman in Leonard Davis, who once was probably the least liked Cardinals player ever. He was drafted the number two pick overall by the Cardinals in 2001 and was supposed to be the offensive line's anchor for a decade. He played a great guard but was put at left tackle because of his contract and the expectation that he would be that left tackle, but was not very good. He left as a free agent and had some All-Pro years with the Cowboys, but as a guard. Now he has bounced from Dallas to Detroit and now to San Francisco, where he gets to be part of a Super Bowl team.
The other former Cardinal is linebacker Clark Haggans, who played four seasons for the Cardinals before being cut this year in the preseason.
Also on the 49ers roster is a player who possibly could become the Cards' next starting quarterback. That would be Alex Smith, who lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick after going down with a concussion. He is scheduled to make $8.5 million and hopes to be released after the Super Bowl so he can find a new team to start for. He has been connected to the Cards because they have such a need at quarterback.
It's not a lot, but it is something. Maybe next year we won't be writing or discussing the "Cardinals connections" in the Super Bowl and we can talk about the actual Cardinals player because the team made it! (A little too delusional? Perhaps.)
We can dream, right? They are free, after all.
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