Sean Harlow appears to have found a home with the Cardinals
By Jim Koch
The sixth-year pro can provide solid depth for the offensive line as he embarks on his second season with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Arizona Cardinals basically rolled the dice a year and a half ago when they signed free agent Sean Harlow to a reserve-future contract.
After entering the league as a fourth-round selection of the Atlanta Falcons back in 2017, Harlow had failed to establish himself as an offensive lineman at the highest level. However, the cards apparently saw something in the journeyman, despite the fact that the 6 foot 4, 284 pounder had appeared in just one professional contest for Atlanta.
The future was hardly looking bright for Harlow before the opportunity with Arizona came his way. In fact, the 27-year-old may have had to find a different way to make a living if the call from the Cardinals never came:
"“Honestly, I was probably done with the ball if it didn’t work out here. It was four years of battling, battling, battling and I never saw the field. It really shot my confidence to be honest.”"
Harlow can thank Cards offensive line coach Sean Kugler for bringing out the best in him. Suddenly, the former Oregon State University product has become a viable part of a blocking unit in the NFL.
Sean Harlow logged significant playing time for the Arizona Cardinals in 2021
Last October, Harlow made his first pro start during Arizona’s 24-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The 136th-overall pick of the 2017 draft was filling in for center Rodney Hudson, the squad’s three-time Pro Bowler who was sidelined with a rib injury.
Two weeks later, Harlow showed his versatility during a 34-10 drubbing at the hands of the Carolina Panthers. The California native was stepping in at left guard Justin Pugh, the veteran lineman who missed the game because of a calf issue.
In all, Harlow logged five starts for the Redbirds in 2021. He was in on 441 snaps on offense and 72 snaps on special teams, as compared to the one solitary snap the undersized blocker was awarded in his four years with the Falcons.
Despite his status as a backup, the scrappy Harlow appears to have found a home in the Arizona desert. A football career that, for all intents and purposes, could’ve been over has apparently been salvaged by the Cardinals organization.