It's not often that you see a highlight on social media and your reaction is, 'Wow, did you see what that center just did?'
Once you see Hjalte Froholdt's two monster blocks from Friday's preseason opener against the Denver Broncos, that would be your reaction. It got so much attention, even Nutella tweeted about the pancake of Broncos cornerback Damarri Mathis and the rude takedown of former Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen.
Despite the look of sheer dominance and violence on the plays, Froholdt thought he was a step behind on his execution.
"I'm just doing my job and trying to do it at full speed, but I actually thought I was really late on the screen," Froholdt said about taking out Mathis. "The corner was playing down low, so I was actually thinking I needed to turn up, but then I saw him out of the corner of my eye and I'm like, 'I have to go get him' because I don't know where (ballcarrier) Corey (Clement) was."
Froholdt was glad that Mathis didn't juke him out because "it would've been a lowlight with my face in the grass." Still, seeing the engagement from the tweet was a neat feeling for Froholdt, noting that offensive lineman don't normally get that recognition -- and then emphasizing he'd rather stay in the background anyway.
There were question marks around the center position all offseason for the Cardinals. Froholdt has held the first-string spot since he arrived, although rookie Jon Gaines and newcomer Pat Elflein figured to get a look.
Through the first preseason game, it looks like Froholdt, who signed with the Cardinals back in March, has separated himself from the pack.
"So far I'm happy with what my preparation has been," Froholdt said. "Something that I wanted to achieve is how can I be good for Sunday? What do I need to do to not only prep for the game, but physically and mentally prep?"
While playing for the Cleveland Browns, Froholdt started two games at right guard. His experience in the position allows him, as a center, to bail out right guard Will Hernandez and left guard Elijah Wilkinson if needed. Having those two big guys by his side helps -- as does the knowledge he only has to prepare for one position.
"It's definitely helped being able to constantly think about one job," Froholdt said "I've been more of a swing guy most of my career, so it's nice to be able to hone in on one thing and focus on my technique."
Tackle D.J. Humphries, going into his ninth season, has seen four different centers set for opening day. Froholdt will be the fifth, and they have meshed well.
"We had no prior connection before he came and he automatically fit into the room," Humphries said. "He's one of the guys that wants to fall in and mess dudes up when we get on the field, and then have a good time after."
Froholdt, who has just four regular-season starts at center in the NFL, has embraced the opportunity not only because of the job but also what it can mean to his home country. Froholdt is the first ever Danish-born position player drafted in the NFL.
"Hopefully, I'm able to shed some light on football in Denmark, so small kids can have more of a want to play football," Froholdt said. "It's cool to see young kids DM me and be like 'Hey, I see you, and my dream is to be an NFL player,' and I'm like 'That's so cool.' I never thought about it when I was there. There was no one really for me to be like, that's reachable. It's cool to be in the position I'm in."
Images from 2023 Cardinals Training Camp at the Dignity Health Training Facility