Cardinals WR Sherfield gets his shot; Fitz thought Raiders might draft him
TEMPE, Ariz. — Garnering buzz throughout training camp, Trent Sherfield wasn’t a surprise to make the Arizona Cardinals’ 53-man roster.
The undrafted rookie out of Vanderbilt beat out veterans Brice Butler and Greg Little to stick, but he’s needed to be patient as his team forged through the 2-7 season so far.
By its actions, Arizona made it clear that youth development alongside future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald was a priority in the wide receiver room. The Cardinals committed to Sherfield, fellow rookie Christian Kirk and second-year pro Chad Williams from the start of the year, but Sherfield was the last of those players to get a chance to play.
When it came to that Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, he knew the significance.
“It felt good, man, just being able to go out there and get my feet wet a little bit,” he said Friday. “I did OK. I had a few mistakes here and there.”
Sherfield didn’t record a reception, but he’ll get another shot to shine Sunday at State Farm Stadium against the Oakland Raiders as Williams sits out once again due to an ankle injury.
Sherfield’s debut beyond special teams duty was a learning experience. Cameras captured him taking cues from Fitzgerald, the 15-year pro in the middle of the game. The rookie said his mistakes in 53 snaps were mostly about recognizing coverages.
Spending time with Fitzgerald has been a gift in itself, Sherfield said. The rookie has hit up his veteran about everything from budgeting money to relationship advice.
Sherfield is taking in all of that — and his snaps alongside Fitzgerald — as he attempts to build on the beginnings of his own career.
“Being able to have one of the greatest to learn from is such a blessing. Being able to just talk with him back and forth, he’s letting me know what I can do better on this route or whatever it may be,” Sherfield said.
In the midst of the rookie’s live lessons Sunday, Fitzgerald surpassed Terrell Owens for second on the all-time receiving yards list.
“Being able just to share that field with him, I’ll be able to tell my kids I was on the field with Larry when he got that. It’s just a blessing, man. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
FITZ THE RAIDER
Fitzgerald admitted this week that there was a time when he thought his career could begin with the Raiders.
In the 2004 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers drafted Eli Manning first overall and traded him to the New York Giants in a package for quarterback Philip Rivers.
The Raiders held the second pick.
“Mike Lombardi, who was the general manager at the time, you know, he went to Valley Forge Military Academy where I went,” Fitzgerald said. “We kind of connected at the combine. He kind of told me what he felt about me and the plans they would have if I were to come out there.
“I remember right after the Giants drafted and the Raiders were on the clock, Mike actually called me. I was thinking that they were going to take me. He was calling to let me know they were going in another direction. Mr. Davis (Owner Al Davis) decided they were going in another direction. It was a real class move to let me know and I appreciate that.”
Oakland selected Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery second overall, and he would go on to start for seven years and play in 104 games.
Fifteen years later, Fitzgerald is 227 games deep in his career and set to break another record.
With eight more catches, Fitzgerald will surpass Jerry Rice’s 1,281 as a member of the San Francisco 49ers for the most in NFL history with a single team.
“The records are really not that meaningful to me,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t ever talk about them, I don’t ever go home and talk to my kids, ‘Hey, you know I’ve caught more passes with one team more than anybody in history.’
“‘That’s cool, dad, let’s go play lacrosse now.'”