Rodney Hudson will be back at center for the Arizona Cardinals.
After skipping the entirety of offseason workouts – including mandatory minicamp, for which coach Kliff Kingsbury said the veteran center had been unexcused – Hudson has let the team know he plans to play this season.
Hudson's return gives important clarity to the offensive line. His presence was touted as significant help for quarterback Kyler Murray last season, both in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. His return also cancels out what would have been a significant hole to fill otherwise.
"Rodney is my guy," veteran left guard Justin Pugh said during minicamp in June, noting that Hudson was at Pugh bachelor party and at his wedding. "We love Rodney. "We wish he was here but that's something above my paygrade."
Hudson's return solidifies the starting job but who will back him up remains in question.
Pugh said this offseason he was taking some work at center and would be willing to move. The Cards also have Sean Harlow and rookie Lecitus Smith, although like Pugh, both have played guard in their careers.
Signing a veteran center is possible. The Cardinals did visit with former Giants and Bengals center Billy Price earlier this offseason.
Hudson, who turned 33 earlier this month, enters his 12th season. He was acquired in a trade with the Raiders last offseason, starting all 12 games in which he appeared. He missed two games because of Covid and three with ribs and shoulder injuries.
Hudson is scheduled to make $10.8 million in salary this year.