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Arizona Cardinals choose Jim Hart for Ring of Honor

By Alex Butler
Arizona Cardinals choose Jim Hart for Ring of Honor
Former St. Louis Cardinals quarterback Jim Hart displays his award given to him by the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame during the Legends of the 2016 St. Louis Football dinner in Frontenac, Mo. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

May 4 (UPI) -- Four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jim Hart will be inducted into the Arizona Cardinals' Ring of Honor during the 2017 NFL season.

The franchise made the announcement Thursday. Hart will receive the honor at halftime during a 2017 home game.

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"The Ring of Honor is reserved for those who have made the most extraordinary contributions to the Cardinals organization and Jim Hart is absolutely in that category," Cardinals president Michael Midewll said in a team statement. "When you look back at his career, two things really jump out: excellence and longevity. He is our franchise's career leader in nearly every passing category, which is commendable in its own right.

"But an undrafted quarterback going on to play 18 seasons and 199 games may be even more remarkable and unlikely to ever be duplicated. The impact he had on the Cardinals was undeniable and we are thrilled that he will have this permanent place of honor within our franchise."

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Hart, 73, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966 as an undrafted free agent. The Southern Illinois quarterback led the NFL with 30 interceptions during his first full season as a starter. He played 18 of his 19 seasons for the Cardinals before joining the Washington Redskins in 1984. Hart completed 51.1 percent of his passes for 34,639 yards, 209 touchdowns and 247 interceptions in 201 career contests.

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His 18 seasons with the Cardinals are more than any other player. Only five other players in NFL history have spent more seasons with one team.

"I was very excited," Hart told the team's website. "Still am. It's a very nice gesture."

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"That's the special thing about it," Hart said. "I'll talk to people and they ask me, do I miss the game? No. How I could I play at this age? I miss my buddies, the guys I spent 8 to 10 hours a day with for six months a year."

Hart's 199 games for the Cardinals are third-most in franchise history.

The 1974 NFC Player of the Year has a franchise-best 87 wins by a quarterback. He also has the franchise record for pass attempts, completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

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Hart's Cardinals won at least 10 games in three consecutive seasons from 1974 through 1976.

Charles W. Bidwill, Sr. (Owner), Jimmy Conzelman (Coach), T Dan Dierdorf, HB John "Paddy" Driscoll, HB/DB Marshall Goldberg, WR Roy Green, CB Dick "Night Train" Lane, HB Ollie Matson, HB Ernie Nevers, S Pat Tillman, HB Charley Trippi, CB Roger Wehrli, CB Aeneas Williams, S Adrian Wilson and S Larry Wilson are also in the franchise's Ring of Honor.

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