We are now just a little more than 2 months away from the start of the 2014 regular season for the Arizona Cardinals. We continue to count down the days using jersey numbers and the history of players who have worn them for franchise ever since the team existed.
Today we look at the number 63. Many players have had the privilege of wearing the number, but for the last seven years, only one player has. That player is none other than Lyle Sendlein. Sendlein, in case you did not know, was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he played high school football at Chaparral High. He briefly left his hometown to play his college ball at the University of Texas before the Cardinals brought him back as an undrafted free agent in 2007.
It is worth noting how cool it must have been for the center to play in two Championship games in three years. In his last game as a senior in college Sendlein's Longhorns would play for a National Championship against the USC Trojans and win. Then in his sophomore season in the NFL, he would play on the biggest stage of them all as he started for the Cardinals in a Super Bowl. I do not have to elaborate on the sad result of that game though.
Nonetheless, Sendlein still is in charge of the offensive line at the center position until this day, and that is a remarkable feat in itself considering the troubled history of the offensive line over the last several years. Under second year head coach Bruce Arians though, the o-line has shown a bit of improvement, and Sendlein I'm sure is just glad to be in the center of it all.
Before Sendlein, G/T Chris Liwienski would wear jersey number 63 for the Cardinals as he started in six of 16 games played for the team in 2006. Liwienski would reunite with then head coach Dennis Green where he played four seasons under Green in Minnesota. Perhaps it was Greens firing in Arizona however, which led Liwienski to sign with the Dolphins the fallowing season.
Frank Garcia wore the number 63 for the Cardinals in 2003. It would be his final season in the NFL. Garcia was suspended for the first four games that season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Michael Bankston wore number 63 from 1992-1997 for the Cardinals, but would finish his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. He recorded 27 sacks (14.5 as a Cardinal) for his NFL career as a defensive tackle. Bankston reportedly tried to tackle a career on the Arizona State Legislature years later after his career in the NFL ended in a 2012 article written by Jeremy Duda of Arizona Capitol Times, but I don't believe he was elected.
Other players who have donned jersey no. 63 have been:
Tootie Robbins; T, 1982-1993
Kirby Criswell; LB/DE, 1980-1981
John Zook; DE 1976-1979
Steve George; DT, 1974 (one season)
Clyde Williams; G/T, 1967-1971
Herschel Turner; G/T, 1964-1965
Fate Echols; T/DT, 1962-1963
Dale Memmelaar; G/T 1959 (one season)