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Monday, August 18, 2008
Arizona Cardinals: Franchise player

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

 
 Photo by NFL
 Dick "Night Train" Lane played with the Cardinals when they were in Chicago.

Readers' choice: Dick "Night Train" Lane, CB

Lane enjoyed a Hall of Fame career, but he spent only six seasons with the Cardinals' organization (1954 to 1959, when the team was in Chicago). Lane was a Los Angeles Rams rookie in 1952 when he set the NFL single-season record for interceptions with 14. He's wearing a Detroit Lions jersey in his Hall of Fame bio photo.

The Cardinals haven't had a long list of great skill-position players over the years. Ottis Anderson finished third in balloting behind Lane and Hall of Fame tackle Dan Dierdorf.

As great as Lane was, Dan Dierdorf went to six Pro Bowls in 13 seasons with the Cardinals from 1971 to 1983. Another Cardinals Hall of Famer, cornerback Roger Wehrli, went to seven Pro Bowls in 14 seasons with the organization from 1969 to 1982. Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson went to eight Pro Bowls in 13 seasons with the Cardinals from 1960 to 1972. Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith spent his first 15 seasons with the Cardinals from 1963 to 1977.

Lane prevailed as the greatest Cardinals player among ESPN.com voters. Washington's Darrell Green was the only other ESPN.com winner to draw a lower percentage of overall votes. Lane also qualified among the Lions' all-time greats, but Barry Sanders ran away with the ESPN.com votes for that franchise. Lane finished third in the Lions' race.

Lane's margin over Dierdorf was third-slimmest among all teams. Check back in 10 years to where Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin rate.