Twenty-Five Greatest Players in Cardinals History

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Larry Centers changed the way fullbacks were viewed.

Fullbacks are big, bruising players who are built to hit people, primarily, opening holes for the real skill guys. They catch the occasional pass, or carry the ball in short-yardage situations, but they’re not big-time athletes. Then along came Centers.

When being recruited after high school, teams saw him as a running back, a receiver, or even a defensive back. Once in college, he did a little of everything, and was good at everything. As a professional, his career started slow, but as the role of the fullback changed, he got involved and made plays. He was a particularly dangerous player catching passes out of the backfield, catching more than 100 passes in 1995, then 99 the following season. He also sits 3rd all-time in receptions in team history.

Centers made the Pro Bowl in 1995 and 1996, and his 828 career catches places him inside the top 30 in NFL history, and he’s the all-time leader in catches for a running back. He was also an immensely popular player in Arizona, and still fondly remembered. He helped redefine what a running back could do and the nature of the fullback position.