After a disappointing season, the Arizona Cardinals fired general manager Rod Graves on Monday, according to a report from Adam Schefter. In addition to Graves, the Cardinals have also reportedly fired coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Graves, who joined the Cardinals in 1997, departs after a 5-11 season in which Arizona lost 11 of its last 12 games. Monday's firing ends one of the longest-active runs of any decision-maker in the NFL. Graves joined the Cardinals as an assistant to the president in 1997. He was promoted to vice president of football operations in 2003 and took over as general manager in 2007. In his current position, Graves was responsible for all facets of football operations.
After starting 4-0 this season, Arizona collapsed over its final 12 games, ultimately costing Graves his job. While he had had plenty of success building the Cardinals, including drafting Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Wilson and others, Graves' inability to solve Arizona's quarterback quandary ultimately cost him his job. Arizona has had a hole at quarterback since Kurt Warner retired and despite trading for Kevin Kolb, Graves was unable to find a replacement. The Cardinals started four different quarterbacks this season.
Following back-to-back NFC West Championships in 2008 and 2009 and a Super Bowl appearance, Graves received a contract extension in 2010 which ran through 2013. He was one of six African-American general managers in the NFL. In addition to his time with the Cardinals, Graves has also worked with the Chicago Bears.