It is said you can never go home again, but Karlos Dansby has already proven that to be false once before.
Might he do it again?
The linebacker, who was an Arizona Cardinal from 2004-2009 and then again in 2013, was released by the Cleveland Browns earlier this week and is now in search of a new team.
Is it possible that new team could be his old team?
“The third time could be the charm, you know, I can’t say it couldn’t be,” Dansby told Off the Edge with B-Train on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday.
Dansby pointed to 2016 being the year of Jubilee, and believes everything that was taken from him — such as the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013 and the Super Bowl he fell short in in 2008 — will come back to him.
“That’s just how I’m operating, that’s how I’m walking, so whoever brings me in, whatever facility I’m walking into, you’ve got to know my mindset, I’m working towards that,” he said. “I can’t let nothing really distract me from that right now; I’m kind of focused and I’m in my zone right now, so whoever brings me in the building, whatever building I walk into, that’s my focus, that’s my mindset and I’m going to be working towards that.
“It’s going to get contagious to the guys around me because they’re going to be seeing stuff happen that they’ve never seen before, and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
Never a particularly quiet one, Dansby’s bravado has generally been backed up with excellent play throughout his career.
Last season, the 34-year-old notched 108 total tackles along with three interceptions and three forced fumbles, and the season before he notched 93 tackles, three sacks and one interception in just 12 games.
As for that 2013 season, the one in which he thinks he deserved some postseason hardware, the linebacker racked up 122 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Maybe he is slowing down a bit at his age, but it’s not unreasonable to think he still has some quality football left in him.
The belief is the Browns parted with him more because of money — he was two years into a four-year, $24 million contract with $14 million guaranteed — than his on-field performance, and there has been no indication from Dansby that he was upset over the move.
In fact, it allows him to look for a contender to join, which would allow him a chance to chase after that Super Bowl ring.
The Cardinals, of course, are a contender, and the moves they’ve made this offseason have only served to reaffirm their status. Dansby has taken notice of what’s gone on in the desert. He feels like he could be the missing piece for a handful of teams with championship aspirations, and would like to be the one to get them over the top.
So, what would it take to get Dansby to Arizona for a third stint as a Cardinal? According to Spotrac.com, Dansby has earned more than $62 million in his career, so money may not be the biggest factor. At this point, after a couple of losing seasons in Cleveland, the chance to win may trump everything else.
“We’re all businessmen, no doubt, but to make that run, it don’t take much, it don’t take much at all, it don’t take much at all, it don’t take much at all,” he said.
In fact, Dansby said for him it is really all about respect.
“That’s why I play the game,” he said. “I play the game for the respect.”
In the NFL, respect is shown in a lot of ways, one of which is money. Even if the Cardinals are interested in bringing Dansby back into the fold — GM Steve Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM earlier this week he’d have to watch film to determine if the former second-round pick can still play at a high level — their salary cap situation is such that they would likely not be able to offer the linebacker as much as some other teams might.
But one advantage the Cardinals would seem to have over every other team is familiarity.
“I’ll tell you one thing about Bruce Arians, though, he’s like a father-figure to me, man,” Dansby said. “So with saying that, I’ve just got so much respect for him in general, and he knows it. He can feel it. When we were around each other during that whole season, I viewed him like that, like a father figure.
“It’s tough to tell your dad ‘no,’ so that’s the best way I can really put that. He means that much to me as a man, so I’ve just got the utmost respect for him in general. And Steve Keim, he’s an awesome guy as well, doing a great job, all the way around. Mr. Bidwill bringing me in in ’04 and giving me an opportunity to really express myself out on the field and show how good God’s been to me, I can’t do nothing but take my hat off to all those guys, I respect them all.”
- NFL.com: Cardinals’ secondary is their biggest weakness
- ESPN: Cardinals’ 2012 QB depth chart one of the worst of last 10 years
- Cardinals’ OC Harold Goodwin and Evan Mathis see major growth from D.J. Humphries
- ESPN: Cardinals get an A- for their offseason
- Another publication says Arizona Cardinals had best offseason in NFC West