The Arizona Cardinals, who have gone from 10 wins to 11 wins to 13 wins over the last three seasons, have been knocking on the Super Bowl door for quite some time. They’re expected to do the same this year, but there’s just one problem: time. Carson Palmer turns 37 in December. Larry Fitzgerald turns 33 Wednesday. If the Cardinals don’t win a Super Bowl soon, they may enter a rebuilding phase.
Most players would rather contend than rebuild, of course, but Deone Bucannon, for one, isn’t thinking about it.
“Me personally, I don’t think about their windows,” the Cardinals safety and linebacker said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, referring to Palmer and Fitzgerald. “I’m not going to put a time on how long a person’s going to play. Honestly, Larry and Carson, shoot, they’re playing at the top of their game. If you want to go back, if I’m not mistaken, Carson’s last year was one of the best years that he’s had in his career, and also the same with Larry. Honestly, I think that they continue to get better each and every year.”
Palmer threw for 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season, while Fitzgerald had 109 catches for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns.
Both veterans, however, bring more to the Cardinals than just numbers.
“The leadership that they bring and the type of mentality and the type of personality that they bring into the locker room and just holding everybody accountable, that’s what we need,” Bucannon said. “That’s why I look up to them as leaders because that’s what they bring. They bring out the best in every single player, including me. I don’t know how long they intend to play themselves, but I hope they play as long as they can. I’ll be on any team with them.”
Bucannon, who dropped by CBS Sports Radio on his 24th birthday, was an All-American at Washington State. The former first-round pick has brought physicality and versatility to Arizona’s defense and has 193 tackles, 5.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception through two seasons.
“It’s an awesome situation,” Bucannon said. “Every day I wake up, I’m just thankful to God for the opportunity. They made a spot for me and allowed me to be the type of player I want to be, to be able to go out there and have the freedom to just roam around and honestly just hit people. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be.”
Sticking in the NFC West, Bucannon, a California native, was asked for his thoughts on Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing protest.
“Honestly, I don’t really have a comment about it,” Bucannon said. “I don’t really have a comment about it either way. I didn’t even hear about it until, shoot, yesterday or so. I don’t know what the reason is. I don’t know really (about) the whole situation, so it would probably be best for me not to comment.”
Reflecting on his own feelings, though, Bucannon said that the national anthem, to him, is about showing our nation respect.
“It means a lot to me because I come from a military family,” he said. “My mom and my dad served in the military. That’s just something my mom and dad fought for. My mom was in the military for 23 years. My dad was in the Marine Corps. So I was a military kid growing up.”
Given Bucannon’s upbringing, Brandon Tierney was surprised that he didn’t have more of a reaction.
“It’s not that I don’t have a reaction,” Bucannon clarified, “but everybody has their own reasons. You can’t jump into somebody else’s mind when you don’t fully understand. It would be rude of me if I were to have an opinion and it would be totally off-base because it could be something that he believes in personally. I’m never going to knock somebody’s beliefs.”