Bradley Sowell: “It took a lot for me to leave Arizona”

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — With the Seattle Seahawks knowing they could possibly lose their starting left tackle, Russell Okung, in free agency (and they did with Okung signing with the Denver Broncos), they had to have a contingency plan in place, which they did in the form of former Cardinals tackle Bradley Sowell, who signed a one-year, $1 million contract with Seattle.

“They (Seahawks) called sometime after the free agency period (began), and they were quick when they called. They just wanted to fly me up and visit,” Sowell said. “I went up there just seeing what was out there (in free agency), and when I got there, they really didn’t want me to leave the building without a deal. They seemed really interested, (and) they felt like I was a good fit for their offense. It took a lot for me to leave Arizona, because I love this place, but just all the stuff they were selling, and the way I feel like I fit there, I just felt like it was time for me to go.”

It wasn’t like the Cardinals didn’t make a strong run at bringing Sowell back, because according to him, they did.

“They (Cardinals) were aggressive as well,” Sowell said. “They made an offer a long time ago. They made one pretty quickly after the season (ended). I just wanted to see (what was out there), just because they have Jared (Veldheer), and they’re going to have D.J. (Humphries) at right (tackle), and I wanted a chance to see if there was another team who needed a tackle, and it so happened to be that Seattle was going to lose their left tackle (Okung), and that’s what I’ve wanted to play. From a business side, it was a smart decision for me. Obviously, you don’t want to leave this place, because you’ve been with this coaching staff for four years, but at the same time, it comes down to my career, and I think that’s what’s best for me.”

It was hard for Sowell to make a mark with the Cardinals like he did in 2013 – Bruce Arians’ first year as Cardinals head coach. That year, Sowell started the final 12 games at left tackle after Levi Brown was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5. Once Arizona signed Jared Veldheer in free agency before the 2014 season, it was common knowledge that he’d be the anchor at that left tackle position for at least the next five years, relegating Sowell mainly to special teams, and backup duty. So, it’s understandable that he would be actively seeking another team that he could have a bigger role on; it just happens to be Arizona’s most hated rival – the Seahawks.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson joked that he and the rest of the Cardinals players are going to give Sowell “a bunch of crap when we see him” in that first game when the Cardinals and Seahawks meet.

“Obviously, it’ll be really tough,” Sowell said. “Of all teams, Seattle was the most interested. That’s just one of those things where you have to respect the Cardinals as well, but at the same time, you’re excited to go.”

“With (Cardinals head) coach (Bruce) Arians, he taught me so much,” Sowell said. “Basically Coach Arians, (Cardinals offensive line coach Larry) Z(ierlein), (Cardinals strength and conditioning coach) Buddy Morris and (Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold) Goody (Goodwin), they turned me from an undrafted guy, to a guy that can be a reliable pro, and I’ll always be thankful of that. The door’s not closed to ever come back here, but I really appreciate all the stuff they did for me over the years, and helping me out (in) becoming a pro was really awesome.”