FLAGSTAFF – When Vonnie Holliday started in the NFL, one of his second cousins was just 11, a hopeful athlete who looked at Holliday and another of their cousins, wide receiver Bobby Engram, as role models.
The young cousin even attended some of Holliday’s football camps.
And when Holliday was traded to the Cardinals earlier this week in exchange for running back Tim Hightower, he suddenly was teammates with his young cousin – linebacker O’Brien Schofield.
“I never thought I’d still be in the league when he got here, first of all,” Holliday said. “To be on the same team is cool. To see him grow and see the man he has become and the player he has become, is pretty impressive.”
Said Schofield, grinning, “It was good to see him.”
Holliday is 35, Schofield 24. Both hail – as did Engram, now retired and an assistant coach with the 49ers – from Camden, South Carolina. Camden is a tiny town of just 7,000, making the trio of pro players from there all the more impressive.
“I am still kind of taken aback,” Holliday said. “I remember this kid when he was just a young’un running around as part of my camp. I am at a loss for words with it because I am still trying to wrap my mind around it.”
Schofield said that he was enjoying not only the reunion but also the part that both play on the same side – if they were in the game together, they’d line up next to each other. Schofield did see Holliday in March at a charity event, but not since.
Schofield is supposed to be the Cards’ top answer as pass rusher, while the hope is Holliday can be a rotational man on the defensive line.
“We’ve been out of touch for a while but this gives us a chance to get caught up,” Holliday said. “We get to know each other now that we are older and he’s a man now, in the NFL. He’s a peer.”
“I’ve had a jammed calf, twisted knee, bruised ribs, my (trapezoids) hurt, every day something new,” Dockett said. “It’s ‘(Head athletic trainer) Tom (Reed) this, Tom that, Tom this, Tom that.’ He asks me, ‘Do you want to sit?’ I say no. I sat for six months. Why would I want to sit out now?”
The practice will feature some competitive offense –versus-defense drives beginning at the 40- and 25-yard lines, and conclude with a live goal line drill. With the Cards still learning both the offense and defensive schemes, coach Ken Whisenhunt is expecting an “ebb and flow” to success.
“I’m just going to tell you in advance some parts of it are going to be pretty ugly,” Whisenhunt said.