Looking back with Cardinals great

November, 10, 2008
11/10/08
4:54
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

PHOENIX -- ESPN's weekly Monday Night Football luncheon provided a chance to catch up with a few former Cardinals players.

Eric Swann was one of them. Now 38 and retired since 2000, Swann reflected on his career as one of the first highly athletic 320-pound defensive tackles. Asked about his finest individual performance, Swann recalled a game against the Redskins when he had, by his memory, two sacks, a safety, a blocked punt and eight or nine solo tackles.

Asked about offensive linemen who matched up well against him, Swann singled out Mark Schlereth (Redskins version) and Cowboys great Larry Allen.

Swann: "Mark Schlereth was a stockier type of guy and he could really get up under the pads. I had to watch him a lot. And then Larry Allen. Big, physical Larry Allen. Larry Allen had a defensive mentality when he played the game. He would fire out at you just like I would fire out from a defensive standpoint. You had to really get low and absorb the block."

Michael Strahan's book recalled defensive linemen coming up with imaginary injuries to avoid matching up with Allen. Swann, listed at 6-foot-5 and 317 pounds, was better equipped for the challenge. Allen was one of the few offensive linemen allowed to block Swann without help.

Swann: "He dominated. He came off the ball, he got into the secondary. He was the complete package, no doubt about it. I lined up over him. They put me head up. That's what everybody wanted to see, man up. And of course I had to watch out for Erik Williams over on the side there."

William's leg-whipping tactics were notorious. The league is fining palyers left and right these days, but I think the game was quite a bit dirtier years ago.

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