GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals continued their 2022 Training Camp Wednesday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, but the fans in attendance were unable to see many of the team's top players, who were given the day off as vet days.
Those included defensive end J.J. Watt, safety Budda Baker, tight end Zach Ertz, wide receiver A.J. Green, running back James Conner, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum.
Rookie tight end Trey McBride was also given the day off.
Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury said none of them were hurt. The team is just being smart with how they prepare the players for the season.
"It's a long week, 6 straight days," Kingsbury said. "And like I've said all along, we're going to be really smart with some of those veterans that we know (they) know how to get ready to play, know how to take care of their bodies. We want to be smart just getting them to Week 1 and make sure those young guys get a lot of opportunities out there to show what they can do."
One big name did make his training camp debut on Wednesday: left tackle DJ Humphries, who agreed to a $66.8 million ($34 million guaranteed) contract extension with the Cardinals on Tuesday. That deal will keep Humphries protecting quarterback Kyler Murray's blindside through the 2025 season.
"Man, that was huge," Humphries said. "Just being able to be in the group of guys that have even gotten to a second extension. It's amazing."
Humphries said he negotiated the deal himself, which is a skill he hopes to use in the future.
"(It was) tough," Humphries said. "I probably wouldn't do it again. It was definitely fun to do. Being able to do one of the biggest deals on my own for the first time that was huge to me.
"This was just something that I wanted to do for myself," Humphries added. "That was huge for me. I think it's going to carry me on throughout my post-football life when I'm trying to do my own business deals and stuff like that, I think I'll have a lot more callous for all the stuff that I'm going to be trying to do throughout it."
Kingsbury said he is glad to have Humphries locked in for the next few seasons and that Humphries has grown a lot during his time in Arizona.
"When we got here, it was like, yeah, we don't know about this guy," Kingsbury said. "That was the initial report. I think he'd been hurt and kind of in the doghouse for whatever reason. He was really young, I think he was 20 or 21 when he got drafted. Since we've had him, all he's done is work and I think it's a credit to coach Kugler, the relationship that they've built. Now he's a team leader and everybody looks to the guy for energy and confidence and all the different things that help our offense go."
Humphries said the journey to get to this point has been something he wouldn't have believed when he came into the NFL in 2015.
"Thinking back over the whole thing, if you would have told me this in 2015, my first rookie minicamp, that this was going to be the case (7) years later, I probably would have laughed at you," Humphries said. "Being on this side of it, it's definitely sweet being able to secure my future here and know that I'll be able to be here as long as I can. I always wanted to play for one team, so being able to keep that dream alive is huge for me."
Humphries had been out since the start of training camp with a gastrointestinal illness, but Kingsbury is glad to have him back.
"Just glad to have (Humphries), he brings a lot of juice, a lot of leadership to our team and offense and he loves to play the game," Kingsbury said. "You could feel that out there with the offense. (I'm a) really big fan of DJ, when he got here, I think people were still trying to figure out whether he was going to make it in this league and he's really taken off and become a real integral part of what we're trying to do here."
Star backer Isaiah Simmons also spoke for the first time during training camp, saying he is excited for the new role that has been created for him in the Cardinals' defense, even though it's not changing much of what he does on the field.
"It feels like what it was last year, not too much more, not too much less," Simmons said. "I like the new name for it though. I feel like it's kind of fitting."
Simmons added that this role will be very similar to how he was used in college at Clemson.
"I feel really comfortable," Simmons said. "Obviously, that's how I got here, and that's what I was comfortable with during my college career, so being able to do it at the highest level is, I guess, a lot of courtesy to (defensive coordinator Vance Joseph) for allowing me to do that and also the team for working with me and being able to help me out."
Simmons also said that with this expanded role comes added pressure to perform, but his background prepared him to handle it.
"I always have kind of felt like I have been doubted," Simmons said. "Just like I'm a 3-star guy from Kansas, when I committed to Clemson, everybody told me from back home I was going to go there and be a bench player, never play, just play on special teams and that was going to be it. But, obviously, I didn't really care what they had to say and took a leap of faith for what I wanted to do. I kind of felt the same way here. I enjoy the pressure because if nobody cared and there was no pressure, I must not be doing something right."
One player missing from practice was wide receiver Hollywood Brown. It appears that is due to some legal issues, as the Arizona Department of Public Safety confirmed he was arrested Wednesday morning for criminal speeding on Arizona Loop 101.
Wide receiver Antoine Wesley also went down awkwardly after going up for a deep pass during a 7-on-7 drill and limped off the field. He worked with trainers on the sideline before leaving the field. There are currently no details on how badly he was hurt.
The Cardinals will continue training camp Thursday morning. Their first preseason game is on August 12th, on the road against the reigning AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. You will be able to watch the game on 12 News.