By: Kayla Mortellaro
TEMPE, Ariz.— Arizona Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein is the subject of this edition of Cards Camp Spotlight on The Blitz with Rich Gray heard weekdays at 2:15 p.m.
Lyle Sendlein is an Arizona man. Sendlein grew up in Arizona and played his high school football at Chaparral High in Scottsdale, Ariz. And for his NFL career, the only team he has ever played for- the Arizona Cardinals.
Sendlein went undrafted out of Texas in 2007 but was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent. At the time, Sendlein admitted that more teams offered him a job, but he felt that Arizona was “home.”
For Sendlein’s eight year career, he has appeared in 109 games, with 99 starts at center. He proved to be a valuable asset amongst his teammates by being a team captain three-straight seasons (2010-2012).
But head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim decided to cut Sendlein on March 12, 2015. Sendlein was set to make about $3 million, and the team wanted him to take a pay cut. Sendlein had other ideas. So, instead the Cardinals were hoping to transition to Ted Larsen or A.Q. Shipley.
Five days in to the 2015 Cardinals training camp, the team resigned Sendlein. Arians said the team was bringing in Sendlein for more competition at the starting center position; the job is not Sendlein’s until he earns it.
“It’s just another guy in the competition, he’s not coming in as the starter,” Arians said Friday. “He’s coming in to compete for the job. We always look for the best available guys to add to the group.”
Sendlein admitted it is strange coming to his ninth Cardinals training camp and not being the starting center.
“It is a little different, you know, being the target or chasing the target,” Sendlein said. “I’ve always had the target on me and do my best in camp to fend off who’s coming for the target. Now I’m trying to work my way like I did eight years ago.”
Sendlein knows the NFL is a game and a business, but feels fortunate to get another opportunity to play the game he loves.
“That was my first business experience,” Sendlein said. “Very few players in this league get to have long careers and never get cut. It’s all about how you get back up. I’m very fortunate to have another chance to play another year.”
During the summer Sendlein spent a lot of time changing diapers and being around his family. He also stayed in good shape but the only way to get football ready, is to play football.
“Playing football- you can do so much but if you are not pushing against a guy [defensive lineman] like that most of the time and doing it in consecutive plays like two minute drills, it’s just something you got to get out there and do,” Sendlein said.
No matter what happened with Sendlein in the offseason, his heart lies with Arizona and the Cardinals.
“This is obviously where my heart is, growing up here and being a big Cards fan, going through a lot of change with the organization, so it’s something that I wanted to continue.”
Once again for Sendlein, other teams called but he chose to be patient and hope that the Redbirds would need his services again.
“We just knew that good things would come if we were patient and stayed working,” Sendelin said. “There was interest [with other teams] right before camp and we just know that things happen at camp so we decided to wait because deep down we wanted to come back here.”
And now Sendlein is back home fighting for a chance at a roster spot and maybe his old starting center position back.
The Blitz with Rich Gray can be heard weekdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with the Cards Camp Spotlight every day at 2:15 p.m.