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Lyle Sendlein Returns To Cardinals

Veteran center re-signs with Cardinals, ready to make push for starting job

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Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald chats with new teammate -- and longtime teammate -- center Lyle Sendlein before Friday's practice.


Lyle Sendlein was in Austin, Texas, building his dream house with his wife, changing diapers on their baby, working out and acknowledged he was "irritable as hell."

The veteran center, who had been cut by the Cardinals in March, wanted to be playing football. While there was interest from some teams, "deep down, we wanted to come back here."

That worked out Friday, when Sendlein signed a one-year contract to return to the Cards and enter the mix for center.

"He'll be light years ahead of anyone else who would have come in off the street, and has played and is well-respected in the locker room," coach Bruce Arians said. "It'll be healthy competition."

A.Q. Shipley is running as the first-unit center right now. Ted Larsen was going to battle with Shipley for the job, but Friday, Larsen spent the practice as the second-string left guard behind Mike Iupati. Sendlein took an initial snap or two as the second-unit center, although Anthony Steen – who had been third-string – worked with the second unit in 11-on-11 work. Sendlein may have been working out, but he acknowledged he isn't in football shape. He even carried with him a play sheet when he snapped for 7-on-7, noting that he too still has things to learn after missing summer work.

He left little doubt he will be pushing to regain the starting job he's had since 2008, however.

"I don't think anyone is out here to cheer somebody else on, especially when you get older and your goal is to win the Super Bowl," Sendlein said. "It'd be great to win the Super Bowl either way but you want to be a guy who wins the Super Bowl, not just be on the team that wins the Super Bowl."

Terms of Sendlein's deal are not known, but he had been scheduled to make $3 million this season before he was released. The Cardinals wanted him to take a pay cut and remain on the roster, but Sendlein declined.

 "That's the business side," Arians said. "We all understand it's a business and we all understand we're trying to get the best football team together."

Sendlein cracked a smile when asked about the NFL as a business.

"Well, that was my first business experience," Sendlein said. "Very few players in the league get to have long careers and never get cut. It's all about how you get back up. I don't even know many guys to be able to walk away from the game on their own terms , so I am very fortunate to have another chance."

Larsen said Sendlein's arrival simply adds competition, which can be only good for the team. Guard Jonathan Cooper said Sendlein has always been "the glue that holds the room together" with his positive outlook.

Nobody wore a bigger smile when hearing of Sendlein's return than veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

"Battling (with) Lyle all these years, I'm glad he's back," Fitzgerald said. "He's been a big part of the transformation of this organization, the Super Bowl, I've played (a lot of) games with him. I know what he stands for. He's one of the toughest guys I've ever competed with. In terms of mental capacity, he knows what every single guy is doing in terms of the line calls. He'll be a huge addition."

The Cardinals, who had two roster spots open, also brought back wide receiver Travis Harvey after Michael Floyd's injury, and signed guard Nate Isles. Needing one more roster spot, the Cardinals released quarterback Chandler Harnish.

Arians insisted he still has trust in both Shipley and Larsen at center, emphasizing Sendlein was not being handed the starting job. Sendlein talked about fighting that battle again, like he did to make the team as an undrafted rookie free agent back in 2007.  

"This was obviously where my heart is, growing up here and being a big part of things and going through a lot of change with the organization," Sendlein said. "It's something I wanted to continue."

Images from the sixth training camp practice on Friday



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