ARIZONA, USA — Arizona Cardinals head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, has said throughout the season that having center Rodney Hudson on this team is like having another coach on the field. The 32-year-old Alabama native is one of the wise veterans in this Cardinals locker room, earning the moniker “Uncle Rod.”
“A lot of the young guys call me that, so I just run with it. It’s a blessing to be called ‘Uncle’ in this league, to last that long,” Hudson said.
The three-time Pro-Bowler arrived in Arizona after a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders back in March and he's been one of the most dependable centers in the NFL during his 11 seasons. The trust quarterback Kyler Murray has in Hudson has been evident throughout the season.
“He’s a really good kid,” Hudson said of Murray. “What separates him is he’s obviously got a special skillset with his athletic ability. He’s the most athletic quarterback I’ve been around, by far, and I’m sure a lot of the other guys here could say that. He has a special skill set. He can move, he can throw, he has a big arm, learning every day, wants to get better so it’s been fun.”
When Murray was out three weeks with an ankle injury, 12-year NFL veteran Colt McCoy went 2-1 as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback. Both Hudson and McCoy are enjoying their first season in Arizona and have both received praise for their knowledge and veteran leadership.
“Colt’s really smart. Focused, always trying to get the details right,” Hudson said. “You play in this league that long you see a lot and, like I said, Colt’s really smart and he’s obviously learned a lot.”
A ribs injury kept Hudson sidelined for three weeks and COVID forced him to miss two more games in the regular season. It’s no secret Hudson has been part of the secret to Arizona’s success this season. The Cardinals are 10-2 with Hudson and 2-3 without him. Hudson brings a level of comfort to the entire offense, but it took some time for him to perfect his role as the man in the middle.
“I played running back and receiver and stuff when I was much younger and then as I grew older, I got bigger and slowly morphed to the line,” the Florida State product explained. “In little league football even when I played on the line I still would go and get the ball sometimes, switch positions or whatnot. But once I got into middle school it was apparent that I was growing way too fast.”
The Florida State product was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame in 2019 and since then, Hudson has developed into one of the best centers in the entire league.
Hudson and the Arizona Cardinals continue their quest for a Super Bowl on Mon., Jan. 17, when they face the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Game. Kickoff is set for 6:15 p.m. at So-Fi Stadium.
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