Karlos Dansby continues happy homecoming with Arizona Cardinals

Dec 9, 2013, 2:37 AM | Updated: 2:37 am

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Apparently you can go home again, and Karlos Dansby is proof.

The linebacker spent his first six NFL seasons in Arizona, but left for Miami as a free agent in 2010. He was released by the Dolphins following three productive seasons, however, and decided to come back to the Cardinals on a one-year contract.

And what a year it has been.

In Sunday’s 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams, Dansby produced eight tackles, one sack, one pass defensed and one pick-six.

It was his second pick-six in as many home games, and the “Dirty Bird” now has a team-leading 105 tackles to go along with his six sacks and three interceptions.

“This is the best season I’ve had so far,” Dansby said. “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices this season.”

Of course, Dansby noted that his campaign could be going even better. There have been numerous instances where interceptions – possibly of the pick-six variety – have slipped just through his hands or bounced off of him harmlessly to the turf.

Still, it’s been quite a season for someone many teams thought was done as a productive NFL player.

“I put a lot of work in, I’m not going to lie to you,” Dansby said. “Studying, preparing, preparation and all the extra stuff I’m doing.”

The 32-year-old said he catches 130 passes every day in practice, adding he has dropped way too many interceptions this season. Whatever he’s done, it has allowed Dansby to take an already solid game to another level.

It may not have happened had the Dolphins not cut ties with him, which he said happened very suddenly and very disrespectfully.

“So it motivated me, without a doubt,” Dansby said. “And you see the outcome from that.

“A lot of teams were calling my agent trying to get me in, but when I got this call I knew it was perfect, it was right. Timing was right. People thought I was done, washed up. Not on my watch.”

The Cardinals will most certainly take it. Larry Fitzgerald referred to Dansby as the team’s emotional leader and “bell cow,” and even stumped for his teammate to be voted into his first Pro Bowl.

Added Calais Campbell: “Karlos has been consistently just a great player for us. He’s a leader, he always shows up when he’s supposed to.”

As the season comes to a close, though, attention will turn to Dansby’s future. Will it be in Arizona? He thinks he deserves a new, long-term contract.

“Why not? I can do this three, four, five more years, playing at a high level,” Dansby said. “I don’t see nobody outplaying me right now.”

If Dansby hasn’t been the best linebacker in football, he’s certainly in the conversation. He’d love to see his efforts rewarded with a trip to Hawaii.

“Ten strong years it’s been eluding me, man, and right now is just my time,” he said.

That will not be decided for another few weeks, and naturally Dansby’s first goal is to help lift the Cardinals to the playoffs. No doubt, that would make his homecoming even sweeter.

“Words can’t explain,” he said when asked about what it means to be having this kind of season for the team that drafted him back in 2004 and he helped lead to unprecedented success. “They franchised me twice for a reason; they knew I could play the game at a high level.

“For me to come back and have the opportunity to come back, it’s a blessing in disguise. They let me go at the right time — Miami let me go at the right time — I appreciate it. I definitely appreciate it.”

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 4-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 4-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, bottom, fumbles the ball as he is sacked for a 7-yard loss by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd is congratulated by teammate Larry Fitzgerald (11) after catching a 44-yard pass as St. Louis Rams safety T.J. McDonald, left, looks on during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd, right, catches a 44-yard pass as St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, right, knocks the ball out of the hands of St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook after Cook caught a 47-yard pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. Cardinals' Karlos Dansby recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook, left, dives into the end zone after catching a 16-yard pass for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals safety Yeremiah Bell defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook celebrates after catching a 16-yard pass for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game as Arizona Cardinals safeties Rashad Johnson (26) and Yeremiah Bell (37) stand on the field on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy, left, runs with the ball for a 4-yard gain as Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, right, defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson runs with the ball after intercepting a pass by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and running it back 29-yards before being pushed out of bounds during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Rams quarterback Sam Bradford lofts a pass near the outstretched arms of Arizona defensive tackle Dan Williams during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen) Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams, center, returns an interception for a touchdown as teammates Jasper Brinkley (52) and Karlos Dansby, right, watch during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 24-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan defends during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald celebrates after catching a 24-yard pass for a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, left, catches a 24-yard pass for a touchdown as St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan and safety Rodney McLeod (23) defend during the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook (89) celebrates after catching a 1-yard pass for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford celebrates after scoring a two-point conversion during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, center, fumbles as he is hit by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, left, and defensive end William Hayes watches during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Rams recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam) St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) carries a 16-yard pass down to the 1-yard line during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) St. Louis Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein boots a 48-yard field goal during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

St. Louis Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein (4) is congratulated by teammates Johnny Hekker, left, Chris Williams (65) and Matt Conrath, right, after booting a 48-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Rams won 27-24. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins hops onto linebacker James Laurinaitis as they celebrate as time expires during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee) Rams head coach Jeff Fisher calls to his players during a timeout during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen) Arizona Cardinals players try to block St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein's game-winning 48-yard field goal during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee) Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett sits on the bench following a 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

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