Perhaps Comeback Player of the Year isn't the award you really have a goal of attaining when you start your career, but when something unexpected comes along like an injury that sets a player back, you have to imagine the satisfaction there is to know you came back to play at a high level.
According to a list NFL.com's Chris Wesseling put together of the 10 top candidates to get the bittersweet award, there are two Cardinals players -- quarterback Carson Palmer and safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Palmer is a natural candidate. He was playing a high level in his six games in 2014 and then tore his ACL. Quarterbacks make good candidates because of the impact they have in games.
Writes Wesseling, listing Palmer as the second top candidate, behind only Adrian Peterson:
The recent history of quarterbacks returning from ACL injuries doesn't bode well for Palmer's chances, but he has already exceeded expectations in his speedy recovery. His surrounding talent is significantly better than conventional wisdom suggests, with a suddenly stout offensive line and a wide receiver corps featuring breakout candidate John Brown. Palmer is 13-2 with a 27:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his last 15 starts in Bruce Arians' offense.
Coming in at number seven is Mathieu.
"Honey Badger" played 13 games in his return from reconstructive knee surgery, but clearly wasn't himself in a limited role. The Cardinals believe he has finally recaptured pre-injury form this offseason, which will allow him to channel the playmaking ability he flashed while making a run at Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013.
This one is a much tougher sell. Can you really come back when you played in 13 games? Perhaps this would be the case of a down year and coming back on top.
Of course, based on what we are hearing from the offseason, even if he isn't necessarily on track for the actual award, he is looking a lot like he did when he was making plays his rookie year. If that is the case, it doesn't really matter if he wins an award or not. He will be making plays and changing games.
Award or no award, if both of them are 100 percent of their ability, that is great news for the Cardinals.