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Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill speaks about Larry Wilson

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 1966, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals safety Larry Wilson smiles in St. Louis. Wilson, a former Cardinals safety and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died. He was 82. Wilson died Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, according to a news release from the team. (AP Photo/Fred Waters, File)

Following the passing of former Cardinal Larry Wilson, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday that he considers two men to be the most influential in his life.

The first is his father, Bill Bidwill, who owned the Cardinals before the son.

The second was Wilson, the NFL Hall of Famer who died Thursday night at the age of 82.

“Between my father and Larry Wilson, those were the two men that had the biggest impression on me,” Bidwill said.

Wilson played his entire career for the Cardinals organization. He was drafted in the seventh round following the 1959 season, five years before Bidwill was born, and went on to make eight Pro Bowls and be named to five All-Pro teams.

He innovated the safety position by incorporating the blitz into his attack, was named to the NFL’s all-time team and made the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Bidwill remembers Wilson as much for how he acted off the field.

As an office executive, Wilson was a “constant, consistent gentleman,” Bidwill said. He had a “great moral compass and a great disposition.”

As a father, Wilson earned Bidwill’s immense respect.

“He had a son Jed who had significant physical issues and was at the children’s hospital oftentimes having multiple operations. There were many games were he came to the stadium about three hours before kickoff and would fall asleep on the locker room floor,” Bidwill said. “That was the only sleep he got all night because he was up all night with Jed.”

Now, the Cardinals remember Wilson.

“He made everyone around him a better person,” Bidwill said.

Current Cardinals

Bidwill also spoke about the current Cardinals team. He said the DeAndre Hopkins trade came to fruition weeks before it was announced.

“I was surprised that this was a possibility,” Bidwill said. “We worked very hard making sure that we could execute a trade that was a real positive for us.”

This offseason, Hopkins and Budda Baker signed contracts that make them the richest at their respective positions in the sport.

“You saw Sunday … exactly why we felt so strongly about making that statement with (Hopkins),” Bidwill said. “On the other side of the ball, Budda Baker … you saw him just taking it to the next level, just like we expected him.”


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