Monday, August 20, 2012
A player to take for granted, until now
By Mike Sando
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald hasn't been the only constant for the Arizona Cardinals' offense over the past four-plus seasons.
Tackle Levi Brown has been another. Week after week, year after year, the Cardinals could count on Brown showing up for work each week. They could likewise count on fans and analysts criticizing Brown's play, but no one could accuse the 2007 first-round draft choice of lacking toughness or durability.
That's why the torn triceps Brown suffered during a routine play Friday night was so unexpected. Brown, 6-foot-6 and 324 pounds, has been largely indestructible. As the chart shows, Brown has played at least 98.7 percent of the Cardinals' offensive snaps for each of the past four seasons. That included playing every snap in 2010.
Teams routinely rest starters when a game's outcome remains a formality, but with only two substitute offensive linemen in uniform for the typical game, the starting five often play all the way through. It's part of what separates offensive linemen from their peers.
It'll be strange seeing the Cardinals go into a season without one of their most durable players. Brown is expected to miss at least three months and possibly the full season.