Shelton Granted Permission To Seek Trade

Touted as being a player full of promise and upside to landing on the bench of one of the National Football League's lower echelon teams, offensive tackle L.J. Shelton is at the crossroads. <p> Recently, the Arizona Cardinals granted Shelton permission to seek a trade and NFL teams are already rumored to be lining up.

Prior to the 2004 season, the Cardinals hired Dennis Green to coach an Arizona team which has struggled mightily. Green's approach was to immediately make noise within the roster of the Cardinals.

Shelton was coming off ankle surgery and admittedly was not in the best of physical condition prior to training camp. Green wasted little time in demoting the then starting left tackle.

A demotion Shelton felt was undeserved and unwarranted.

"I was coming off an injury, but had played well during the season. I didn't expect to lose my job," Shelton said.

Dennis Green, a veteran coach known as a players coach stayed the course with his decision. Leonard Davis moved over from the right side of the line to replace Shelton. During the season, Shelton earned the starting right tackle position, only to have his season end early due to a knee injury.

Known as a better than average tackle, Shelton moved much better after having ankle surgery. His pass-blocking technique has greatly improved over the past few seasons, with the 2002 and 2003 season being a rather coming out party for this physical player. Mostly thought of as a player which was not dedicated to the game, Shelton matured and has grown into a player that is willing to do the work necessary to become an elite athlete in the game

"Once I had the surgery (ankle), I was able to do some of the things I needed to do to become successful," Shelton said. "I feel good physically and look for a fresh start. I don't care where, I just want to play.

The key to Shelton's game is his strength and his ability to control defenders with his long arms. The strength to Shelton's game is his ability to seal, block-down, and contain in run support.

Interest in the offensive tackle is note-worthy. The Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, and Oakland Raiders are rumored to have shown an interest in the 29-year old veteran.


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