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Trust Talent Time

Fun-loving Daryn Colledge has right stuff for Arizona Cardinals line

Offensive linemen, by nature, tend to be your typical lunch pail-type players. And then there’s the Cardinals’ Daryn Colledge.

He doesn’t only bring his lunch pail to work every day as Arizona’s starting left guard, he brings an entire kitchen.

No, it’s true. Colledge put a fairly hefty-sized refrigerator inside his locker. And you’ll never guess what he has stocked inside.

“All we have in there is this,” he said Friday, opening up his refrigerator door. “They’re organic burritos.”

There must be 100 of them.

“You know, we’re offensive linemen, we need snacks every once in a while. We need some food,” Colledge said. “But hey, at least we’re keeping it healthy.”

But a man cannot live on cold organic burritos, so Colledge bought a microwave and put it in the top shelf of the locker just to his left. That locker belongs to fellow lineman Senio Kelemete, the team’s first-year guard from the University of Washington.

“Yeah, we put it in the rookie’s locker. We ran out of room,” Colledge said, nodding approvingly.

It’s that kind of spirited fun and good-natured humor that made Colledge a team favorite when he played for the Green Bay Packers from 2006-10. Well, that and his mad assortment of body tattoos; long, flowing dark hair, and his penchant for getting his nose dirty on Sundays.

“Daryn Colledge, I’d probably classify him as the ultimate blue-collar guy,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week on a conference call with Arizona reporters. “Daryn, shoot, I don’t know if he’s ever missed a practice, never missed a game. You could always count on Daryn.

“He’s a very accountable man, a good teammate, and he was well liked in the locker room. He was an excellent professional for us.”

As much as Colledge, second-round pick by the Packers out of Boise State, is looking forward to his homecoming Sunday when the Cardinals visit Lambeau Field, it’s going to be all business.

Colledge and his fellow linemen have been mocked for allowing a NFL-high 39 sacks. The Cardinals are mired in a four-game losing skid after starting the season 4-0.

And hey, there’s no room for a portable washer and dryer in the locker to his right.

But this is a potential make-or-break game for the Cardinals (4-4), just like Monday’s night’s disaster against the 49ers was. An Arizona upset win might somehow save the season. At the very least, it would make things a lot more palatable heading into the off week.

“For us,” Colledge said, “this is a game the Arizona Cardinals need to win. This is going to be one where we’re just going to strap it up. We’re going up against an excellent team and the only way we’re going to beat a team like this is if we go in and physically beat them and execute.

“We’re going in with an attitude that we’re going to have to punch them in the mouth.”

Speaking of mouths, Colledge’s words have carried a considerable amount of weight since he signed a five-year contract as a free agent with the Cardinals prior to last season. He quickly embraced a leadership position on the team, and according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt, he’s been the Cardinals’ steadiest lineman this year.

Though he’s been replaced adequately enough in Green Bay by T.J. Lang, a 2009 fourth-round pick, Colledge is missed in Green Bay.

“I loved hanging out with D.C.,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I loved when he was here. He’s got a good sense of humor, he’s got a large number of tattoos and I see he’s rocking the long hair now.

“He can be blunt as well at times and throw people off. But I’m proud of Daryn. He was a warrior for us. He never missed a game and I’m happy for him that he’s getting an opportunity down there. I definitely miss him.”

The Cardinals miss all the other offensive linemen around him who have been felled by injuries. They lost starting left tackle Levi Brown (torn triceps) and starting right tackle Jeremy Bridges (torn thumb ligaments) in the preseason.

Starting right guard Adam Snyder, meanwhile, will miss his second straight game because of a strained quadriceps.

“Yeah, we’re down to two (starting) guys now since we started training camp,” Colledge said, noting himself and center Lyle Sendlein. “But hey, what are you going to do?”

If you’re Daryn Colledge, you crack open the fridge, heat up a couple of organic burritos, and go home to Green Bay with a hearty appetite for a win.

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