Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Sean Harlow proves perseverance, hard work, can lead to success in NFL


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State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ.

Jason Cousineau, Reporter

Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Sean Harlow has traveled a rough and winding road thus far on his journey through the NFL.

Harlow went to college at Oregon State, and had an injury-riddled junior year that affected him mentally and physically.

Despite the hardship, it lit a spark in him to take his training for the 2017 NFL combine and preparation for the draft to follow very seriously.

Although the combine is grueling for most, it proved beneficial for Harlow to see where he stood with the other offensive linemen in his class and get one-on-one time with NFL staff.

“You’re busy the whole time,” Harlow told “A bunch of mental evaluations, the Wonderlic (test) and the train station where the whole team speed interviews players.”

Harlow was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons.  But before appearing in 15 games for Arizona in 2021, he spent the first few years of his career bouncing from practice squad to practice squad, occasionally  getting on-field action come Sunday.

“It was humbling, I’ve never been in that position before,” said Harlow about the difference between the NCAA and the NFL. “Get to the league and it’s like WOW.”

Not everybody is given the opportunity to succeed right away, so players need be ready when the time comes, and that’s what Harlow has done for the Arizona Cardinals recently.

“It’s hard to make it into that lineup, I’ve spent time off of practice squads, active, then back down to practice squad, and it taught me a lot about myself and to keep pushing and believing in myself.”

With experience at every offensive line position, Harlow is a Swiss Army knife-type of player.

“Now that I’ve transitioned into center/guard, it definitely helps my cases to stick around and have versatility,” Harlow said. “Not everyone can play center, whether it be mental or physical — so yeah, the more you can do.”

With starting left guard Justin Pugh out for the season and Rodney Hudson hopeful to be back soon, the Arizona Cardinals offensive line room is thin at the moment.

“It’s a great room with a lot of experience,” said Harlow about the injured and active veteran players. “It’s a really cool feeling to see how calm they are pregame and during the game, they’re never too high or never too low…They’re just as involved as if they were playing.”

Sean is looking forward to taking on a bigger role within the team this year and has some definite goals he is working towards.

“Continuing to master the playbook and understand the intricacies of it. And being able to kind of lead in my own way because I have a different story than a lot of guys such as playing and not playing and being back and forth. Being a voice of reason for some of the young guys and supporting them and helping them get through it because I’ve also been through it.”

The Arizona Cardinals defeated the New Orleans Saints at State Farm Stadium last week by a score of 42-34.  A couple of the numerous bright spots in that game for the Cardinals were the run game and offensive line play.

“The run game opens up the pass game and that takes pressure off the o-line when you don’t have to drop back sixty times,” Harlow said. “The confidence is there as far as what everyone else is doing and how we’ll operate. You look at us on paper and we’re really good, and when we execute we are really good.”