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Former Cards Reunite in St. Louis


 Bill Bidwill (right) and Michael Bidwill (center) greet some of their guests Sunday.

ST. LOUIS – Roger Wehrli has long been in touch, on and off, with some of his former Cardinals teammates.

But when the former star cornerback was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year, the conversations increased. And Sunday, when the Cards hosted some of their St. Louis Cardinals alumni before playing the Rams, Wehrli wore a smile while heading down memory lane.

"It just rekindles that whole thing," Wehrli said. "It reminds me of how much I enjoyed playing and how much I enjoy being down on the field. It brings back that thrill a little bit."

The Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Arizona in 1988, but in recent years the team has made a concerted effort to make sure ties to its former city – and more specifically, its former players – are strong.

About 45 alumni and their friends and family were the team's guests both before the game and in a suite during the game, speaking with owner Bill Bidwill, president Michael Bidwill and other long-time organizational members still with the team.

"I think it is really important for the alumni to stay close to the organization both for the alumni and the organization because really, where you are is where you came from," Michael Bidwill said. "The guys who laid the foundation are here today. They feel so connected to the team when we get together and we feel connected to them.

"It's a big emotional day for everybody. It's an important game in the NFC West, the Rams are honoring (former coach) Dick Vermeil. It's important for us to pull out all the stops with our emotions."

In addition to Wehrli, Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson was also among those who attended.

Bill Lewis, another former Cardinal and the team's manager of alumni relations, said the get-together was simply "cool."

"These are the guys that paved the way for guys like myself to play," Lewis said. "The reason this dome is here and these two teams are here is because of all those guys."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 11/2/08.

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