Wednesday • May 22
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On this week's edition, David and Elliott will have a pair of former St. Louis Cardinals of the pro football variety. Featured will be Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive backs Larry Wilson and Roger Wehrli.
Episode Segments:
Sports and Torts: Hall of Famer Larry Wilson

From 1960 through 1972, all of the National Football League's great quarterbacks felt the sting of the St. Louis Cardinals' sterling free safety, Larry Wilson. If the league's passers weren't being smashed to the ground after a safety blitz, they were watching helplessly as Larry, far down field, was picking off one of his 52 career interceptions.
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Sports and Torts: Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli

Wehrli spent the entirety of his 14-year NFL career with the St. Louis Cardinals as a cornerback. During his career, Wehrli was a fast and powerful CB, originating the football term “Shutdown Corner.” He had 40 career interceptions and 19 recovered fumbles. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Larry Wilson
Considered one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history, Larry Wilson’s career with the Cardinals stretched from his 1960 rookie season through his retirement as a team vice president in 2003. Born in Rigby, Idaho, Wilson was a halfback and defensive back at the University of Utah and originally joined the Cardinals as a seventh round draft choice in 1960. After converting to the defensive backfield due to injuries, Wilson embarked upon a storied career that reached legendary stadium as a hard-hitting six-time all-pro and eight-time Pro Bowl safety, along the way enduring an array of fractured bones, broken teeth, and bumps and bruises on every part of his body, none of which could deter him, however, from answering the call for 169 games. In a game against Pittsburgh in 1965 he ignored doctor’s orders and, while playing with casts on two broken hands, intercepted a Bill Nelsen pass for a go-ahead 35-yard touchdown return in the 21-17 win on November 7. Playing like a man twice his size, Wilson punished opposing ball carriers and receivers, and even made his mark against the quarterback on occasion. Cardinals defensive coordinator Chuck Drulis was ready to unveil a new strategy—the safety blitz—but could not find a player with the fearlessness and power to effectively run the play, until he met Wilson, who perfected what is one of the most exciting defensive calls in the game today. The play was coded “Wildcat” and soon became Wilson’s nickname. When he wasn’t slamming the quarterback to the ground, Wilson was flying through the defensive secondary, making one of his 52 pass interceptions, which remains a team record. In addition to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, he was named to the NFL’s all-time team commemorating the league’s 75th anniversary in 1994.

Larry's Page at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Roger Wehrli
Born in King City Missouri, Wehrli came from a small high school of just 75 boys, barely enough to fill out a football squad, and received just one from a large school to play football—from the University of Missouri. And it was only with the stipulation that he play baseball as well as football. Wehrli became a starter in the defensive backfield his sophomore season at Mizzou, went on to earn all-America notice as a senior with 10 interceptions, and was among the top punt returners in the nation. The Cardinals made him their first-round pick in the 1969 NFL Draft, and though he struggled a bit as a rookie, his perseverance and confidence showed, and in just his second pro season in 1970 he intercepted six passes and earned all-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Wehrli soon became a defensive cornerstone for the exciting Cardinal teams of the mid-1970s that forged a three-year record of 31-11 (10-4, 11-3, 10-4) from 1974-76 under Don Coryell. During that period, Wehrli was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1974-75-76-77 and again in 1979, and was voted to the All-Decade Team of the 1970s. And Wehrli was able to maintain that excellence during a time when the NFL showcased a wide-open offense and some of the all-time great quarterbacks (Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Fran Tarkenton) and wide receivers (Charley Taylor, Drew Pearson, Paul Warfield, Lynn Swann). There are 18 modern-era wide receivers in the Hall of Fame, and Wehrli played against 10 of them. Over the course of his NFL career, Wehrli was both a warrior and a graceful sportsman. His mastery of the cornerback position, coupled with unwavering toughness and determination, enabled him to play the demanding cornerback position with excellence for 14 seasons. Wehrli finished his career following the 1982 season with a total of 193 games played, 40 interceptions, seven Pro Bowl appearances, five Pro Bowl honors, and a reputation as one of the most reliable and fundamentally-sound defenders of his era.

Roger's Page at the Pro Football Hall of Fame