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Kent Somers: Retired, But Also A Rookie

Longtime Arizona Republic writer becomes contributor

Kent Somers talks with Patrick Peterson in the Cardinals' locker room during locker clean-out day after the 2011 season.
Kent Somers talks with Patrick Peterson in the Cardinals' locker room during locker clean-out day after the 2011 season.

If you're reading this, you have interest in the Cardinals. And if you are the type to pay attention to bylines, you're probably wondering why mine is appearing on

It's the result of the least important free-agent acquisition in team history.

I retired from The Arizona Republic and last February after 38 years there, and, believe me, I was content with doing almost nothing other than playing with grandkids.

Interviewing Larry Fitzgerald at the Super Bowl was one of my last assignments for, and he asked me what I was going to do when I retired.

No plans, I told him.

That won't work long term, he said. I would need a purpose.

I was not sure then if that were true. And I'm not sure now.

What I am sure of is an offer from the Cardinals to work part-time this fall was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up. It's a chance to report and write, which I still enjoy. It's a chance to work with friends, such as Darren Urban, who used to be competitors. And it's a chance to make occasional appearances on radio and video, which is something fairly new and unfamiliar to me. It could be a disaster, so tune in and watch!

"Retired, now you're a rookie again," left tackle D.J. Humphries observed when he saw me at a press conference a couple weeks ago. "That's a unique experience."

As usual, Humphries was perceptive. My role will be unique because it's a mixture of old and new.

I've been around the Cardinals since they moved here in 1988. First, helping out the late, great Lloyd Herberg, the Republic's first Cardinals beat writer, at training camp and occasionally during the season. Then taking over the beat in 1994 and staying there through 2017, minus a couple of years when I did general assignment sports features and investigative stories. And, finally, covering the Cardinals as a columnist from 2018 until last February, when I took a buyout from the Republic.

So, I was there in the courtroom in 1988 when two sides argued over who had priority in buying Cardinals season tickets for their first season in Arizona. I was there in 1994 when coach Buddy Ryan had injured players push wheelbarrows filled with sand on the sideline during training camp. I was there in 1998 when owner Bill Bidwill shed tears in the moments after the Cardinals clinched their first playoff berth in a non-strike season since 1975. And I was there in 2008 when the Cardinals made an improbable run to the Super Bowl.

I could go on, but you get it. I was lucky enough to cover some amazing stories. And I'm also old, or as a friend prefers to call it, vintage.

But this new role is, in some ways, also different than anything I've done before. I've written columns, but never weekly about the NFL. And the preseason game against the Chiefs was the first time I've participated in pre- and post-game radio broadcasts.

It was fun but there was anxiety when I was in the middle of making a point, then forgot the point, and thought to myself, "just wrap this up before your hurt yourself."

There was a temptation to Forrest Gump it and end every thought with "and that's all I have to say about that."

The weekly column occasionally will include some Cardinals issues, but there will be more emphasis on what's happening around the NFL, and in particular, with the rest of the NFC West and other upcoming Cardinals opponents.

There also will be some history sprinkled in, including voices and anecdotes from the past.

If all that seems as loosely defined as the recipes your grandma kept in her head, you're right. That's sort of the idea, to make the column pliable enough so that it's both informative and entertaining.

Like you, I'm sure, I'm hoping this will be the last column about me. Starting next week, it's all football.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Kent Somers in his natural habitat as a Cardinals beat reporter