Christian Petersen, Getty
More often than not, it’s the small details which mean the difference between success or failure in the National Football League. And thanks to an oversight inconveniencing one of the great NFL pass rushers of all-time, Arizona Cardinals rookie Zaven Collins has had to learn that lesson the hard way.
After Cardinals practice on Friday, Collins and defensive end J.J. Watt agreed to play golf together on Saturday morning, with Collins picking up breakfast for the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year on the way to their tee-time. But when Collins showed up on Saturday, he had forgotten about picking up breakfast for Watt.
After taking suggestions from his Twitter followers on what Collins’ punishment should be, Watt — at the behest of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray — made the first-year linebacker roll down the fairway on the 18th hole of the course.
The harmless hazing of Collins became something of a team-building exercise, as it built the relationship between the Cardinals’ first-round pick and a veteran free agent making his way to Arizona for 2021. The No. 16 overall pick in the Draft, Collins was one of the top linebackers in all of college football in 2020, winning the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award, and Lombardi Award while also earning AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors at Tulsa.
Collins is one of the most-notable additions to Arizona’s defense, a group headlined by Watt. After 10 seasons with the Houston Texans, Watt signed a two-year contract to move to the Cardinals in free agency. While Watt’s production has tailed off since a 16-sack campaign in 2018, his reputation as one of the best pass rushers of the 2010s precedes him. Watt has 101 career sacks, and earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors three times in 2012, 2014, and 2015.