Daryn Colledge has experienced quite a lot — Super Bowl championship, multiple division titles, even a 10-game losing streak — during his seven years in the National Football League.
Sitting on the sidelines, however, hasn’t been among those experiences.
Colledge has played in all 112 possible regular season games in his career, miraculously escaping the injury bug in a way few at his position have.
But that streak of good health came to a screeching halt earlier this month, when the Cardinals right guard missed two weeks of practice and the team’s first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Aug. 9 for what was said to be nerve damage in his right leg.
An MRI taken on his leg, though, later revealed that the situation was a bit more serious.
Colledge suffered a hairline fracture.
“Like I’ve told everybody, it’s one of those things where it sucks,” Colledge said to Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta Wednesday. “It’s a bad opportunity. It’s one of those one-in-a-million things I guess where you run at a guy’s leg at just the right angle, and my leg lost that fight. It sucks. I felt like I was headed in the right direction, now I feel like I’m behind these guys by two weeks and have to play catch up.”
While the words ‘catch up’ would seem out of place in the vernacular of an offensive lineman who has always found his way into the starting lineup, Colledge said that given the circumstances surrounding the Cardinals’ offense heading into 2013, he has no choice but to be a professional and play through the pain.
“The offense that we’re playing in right now is not the simplest offense in the world [to learn],” said Colledge, who played in the team’s 12-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Saturday. “The group I’m playing with is extremely talented, and the things we want to do as an offensive line and as an offense, I just need to be out there right now getting that communication down.
“I might not be playing my best football at this moment, but I know where I will be in two weeks and how my body will feel. It’s more important I feel right now that I get out there, get the reps and communicate those things with Eric [Winston] and Lyle [Sendlein] on the right side of the ball.”
The pressure to suit up despite injury also has something to do with the no-nonsense mentality head coach Bruce Arians and his staff have tried to instill through the first four weeks of training camp.
“I think it is good,” Colledge said of the mentality. “It’s a situation where anybody who has played in this league long enough knows it’s a business. These guys aren’t here for a transition period. These guys aren’t here to build. They’re not thinking two years down the road, they want to win now. They expect to win and came from winning programs.
“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team and if we can point this team in the right direction, we have a chance to sneak up on this division and this league.”
Although Colledge hasn’t had to worry about his place on Arizona’s offensive line since signing with the team in July 2011, the veteran guard knows with a new coaching staff in place there are no guarantees.
As the 31-year-old pointed out, in a league defined by parity and transition, nothing matters outside of current performance.
“Turnaround happens in this league so fast,” said Colledge. “It happens for coaches, it happens for players and it happens for teams. You can be last in the division, you can be first in the division, you can a starter on this team and then you can be on the street tomorrow. Coaches are given less slack now than even players it seems like sometimes.
“It’s easier to replace a coach. So these coaches want to come in here and make there mark. They want to win football games. Everyone wants to be that tenured guy. Everyone wants to know that they’re the guy. Coaches and players and teams, we’re all trying to do the same thing. We’re all trying to put that product out for the fans.”