Veteran reclaims Arizona Cardinals starting center position
One year after tearing his ACL, veteran center A.Q. Shipley is once again the anchor of the Arizona Cardinals offensive line
It’s been a year since the career of Arizona Cardinals center A.Q. Shipley took a turn for the worst. During the club’s annual “Red and White” practice last summer, the anchor of the offensive line went down with a torn ACL. It was a devastating injury, and the road back to the NFL would be a long one for the veteran Shipley.
Doubts about whether Shipley was capable of making that journey were quelled on Friday. The Cardinals announced that the 33-year old had beaten out Mason Cole for the starting gig. One of the most intriguing competitions of training camp was over, with the coaching staff deciding that Shipley was the better man for the job.
It was far from an easy decision for head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his assistants. Shipley was thoroughly challenged by Cole, a second-year player who had performed well as Arizona’s starter last season. In fact, the third-round draft pick was the only one of the squad’s offensive linemen to play every down in 2018.
Shipley’s comeback is one of the feel-good stories of 2019. Making it back from such a crushing setback is no walk in the park for anyone, let alone an athlete who is in his mid-30s. The fact that Shipley was able to accomplish that feat is a testament to the determination and desire that his supporters knew he possessed.
The Cards front office did something extremely admirable for Shipley in ’18, three weeks after he blew out his knee. Rewarding an employee who is unable to contribute is a rarity in professional sports these days, but that’s exactly what the franchise did. Shipley was handed a one-year contract extension by the Cardinals, and showed his appreciation by publicly thanking his employer on Twitter after receiving the news.
The anchor of the Arizona offensive line is back. Anyone who believed that the center would elect to retire were wrong. Kudos to Shipley for refusing to throw in the towel.