A.Q. Shipley on podcast: ‘Probably won’t be back’ with Cardinals
Free agent center A.Q. Shipley doesn’t sound optimistic he will be back with the Arizona Cardinals for the 2020 season.
As a guest on The Wilderness Footprint podcast, a production by the Phoenix-area brewery Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., the 34-year-old who spent the last four seasons with Arizona said that he is still searching for his next opportunity.
“Free agent right now, probably won’t be back with the Cards. They want to go younger with the young talent. They got a young quarterback now,” Shipley said. “Part of business, I get it. Got plenty of options, opportunities. With this whole COVID thing, we’re waiting probably a little longer than we would wait.”
On April 15, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he wouldn’t “rule out” Shipley returning to Arizona. But from the tone of that interview, it sounded like the team had all the confidence behind third-year pro Mason Cole, who started every game in 2018 as Shipley recovered from an ACL injury.
“(Cole is) extremely smart, he’s tough and he’s really, really athletic climbing and adjusting at the second level, so he’s a great fit for our offensive scheme,” Keim said.
Losing Shipley will be significant regardless of Cole’s readiness to perform. Shipley was a leader of the offensive line group that returns all of its other starters, plus many of its depth players.
“I’m probably closest with A.Q. on the whole team,” left guard Justin Pugh said of Shipley in April. “I know he’s ready to play and can play at a high level.”
Cole moving to a starting role also takes away the Cardinals’ depth. He was the first backup guard and was also used as an H-back and even in the slot as a perimeter blocker. Now, veteran Max Garcia and second-year pro Lamont Gaillard are among those who could slide into the backup guard spots.
Potentially, so too could backup tackle Justin Murray, who may give up a starting role on the right side if Marcus Gilbert successfully recovers from a knee injury that robbed him of the 2019 season.
As for Shipley, he awaits word on his future amid a sluggish free agency period due to the coronavirus.
On The Wilderness Footprint podcast, he discussed his culinary interests and how that might meet his athletic career when his playing days are over.
Shipley, who is not interested in the workload of owning a restaurant once his NFL career ends, said he’s tossed around the idea of doing a show where athletes and their off-the-field interests meet.
“For instance, (former Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is a) big fisherman, right?,” Shipley said. “So like, come up with an idea, a show, like where I fly into Idaho and now you put me in the center of his world where we’re fly-fishing on the river in Idaho. He takes me fishing. We do a little interview over there, we catch something, and we take something I enjoy, my passion, and that’s cooking, and we cook something we caught in the river.”