Lyle Sendlein happy to trade diapers for shoulder pads

Arizona Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein is more than happy to trade Mr. Mom-type diaper duty for training-camp reps. Rick Scuteri/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Lyle Sendlein learned over the last five months that he wasn’t cut out to be Mr. Mom.

Since he was released by the Arizona Cardinals on March 12 his life consisted largely of two things: Lifting weights and changing diapers.

"It's definitely tough to be at home with (kids)," he said. "Praise to all the stay-at-home moms, that's tough work."

The wait to join a team -- any team -- wore on Sendlein, who spent the offseason at his home in Austin, Texas.

"I was irritable," Sendlein said. "Irritable as hell. I don't know how my family dealt with me. We just knew that good things would come if we were patient and stayed working."

Teams called Sendlein and some talks got "close" to him signing but Sendlein wanted to wait until training camp because it gave him some leverage, he said. It came down to simple math: Before camp started, Sendlein was part of a sizeable pool of players waiting for a job. But as players got hurt or struggled in training camps, the demand for Sendlein's services increased.

It was a risk, but Sendlein knew where he wanted to be in the long run.

"You just know things happen at camp so we decided to wait because deep down we wanted to come back here," he said.

Sendlein stopped paying attention to the Cardinals on a daily basis about a month after he was cut. He was driving himself "nuts" trying to figure out what the Cardinals were doing personnel-wise. He then dedicated himself to staying ready.

"I prepared for it," he said. "I wasn't going be unprepared.

"This is obviously where my heart is, growing up here and being a big Cards fan and going through a lot of change with the organization. So, it's something I wanted to continue."

All it took this week was a phone call, a flight from Austin and a physical.

During Friday's practice, Sendlein was worked back in the rotation during 7-on-7 drills, snapping to all the quarterbacks. There's only one way to get in football shape, the Scottsdale native said: By playing football.

Earlier Friday, coach Bruce Arians said Sendlein wasn't coming in as the presumptive starter. It's a strange role for Sendlein, who started the last 107 consecutive games he played in, all for Arizona.

This is the first training camp since Sendlein's rookie season where he's not the incumbent starter fending off challengers. Instead he's the one challenging.

"It is a little different -- being the target or chasing the target," Sendlein said. "I always had the target on me, (and did) my best at camp to fend off whose coming for the target.

"Now trying to work my way like I did eight years ago."