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A few days after the NFL draft in late November of 1959, Cardinals executive Bill Bidwill flew to Salt Lake City to see if he could sign the team’s seventh-round pick, a skinny running back and defensive back out of Utah.

Bidwill offered Larry Wilson a contract that included a $7,500 salary, including a $500 advance. The next day, the Buffalo Bills, the AFL team that had drafted Wilson, matched that salary offer, but declined to pay anything up front.

So for $500, Wilson became a Cardinal.

It might have been the best money Bidwill ever spent.

Quiet and mild-mannered off the football field, Wilson became one of the best safeties ever to play in the NFL. He hit offensive players with ferocity and fearlessness, and in the process helped revolutionize the game.