Once again we have a small batch of defensive players (more on that in the previous two stories) that wore Cardinal Red jerseys with the white number 96 on the their backs (or visa-versa). The first two were pretty good, then things dropped off a bit and now we hope it will be worn best by the current bearer of the torch. But before we get ahead of ourselves let's start with the first player to wear the No. 96 (that we know of).
After 8 years playing in Philadelphia, Clyde Simmons (1994-1995) arrived in the desert with his new/old head coach by the name of Buddy 'There's a winner in town' Ryan. Remember him?
Simmons, a popular player (pictured above) played well for the Arizona Cardinals and recorded 11 sacks, a fumble recovery and a 25-yard pick-six for the Big Red in 1995 before moving on (along with Buddy Ryan).
Brad Ottis (1996-2000) started less than 1/2 of the Cardinals games while on the roster but still accumulated 80 tackles and 38 assists in four seasons.
The Cardinals' 3rd round draft pick of '02, Dennis Johnson (2002-2003) only hung around professional football for three years (2004 49ers) before hanging up the cleats.
You would think I would remember a name like R-Kal Truluck (2005) but I don't — nor can I remember much about a another One-Hit-Wonder (one season or less with the Cardinals) by the name of A.J. Schable (2006).
Ross Kolodziej is an interesting case having played with the Cardinals for two years (2004-2005) wearing No. 72, then disappearing for a year (Vikings), only to reappear in Cardinals camp (2007) disguised as No. 96, only to re-disappear again in 2008 — this time from pro football.
Ronald Talley (2011-2013) spent three years as a Cardinal trying to crack the starting lineup, but only appeared in 15 games (starting once), with one sack and 10 tackles in his three year NFL career.
Now for the player we hope will turn out to wear the BIG NINE-SIX best
Drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Kareem Martin didn't play much last season (appearing in 11 games and starting two), but he did have time enough to record his first NFL sack — a forced fumble returned for a touchdown by Antonio Cromartie against the Rams. Playing as a defensive end last year, the Cardinals decided to move Martin to outside linebacker this season and are expecting great things from Kareem. Let's second that motion.
Please feel free to help us fill in the gaps as we count down another day until kickoff.
For a listing of the entire collection of stories in the Countdown to the Season series, all you have to do is click here.