Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

Changes galore as Arizona opens camp at home

Thursday - 7/25/2013, 10:20pm  ET

FILE - In this May 14, 2013, file photo, Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver Ryan Swope makes a catch during practice at the NFL football team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. The Cardinals announced Thursday, July 25, 2013, that Swope is retiring because of concussion issues. The Cardinals placed the former Texas A&M star on the reserve/retired list, meaning he would be Arizona's property if he returned to the sport. Swope, drafted by Arizona in the sixth round, set school records for receptions and yards receiving for the Aggies but was plagued by concussion issues and had a serious setback in the early summer. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- New location, new coach, new quarterback.

Change was definitely in the air when the Arizona Cardinals reported to training camp Thursday at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Cardinals had held training camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff for all but one season since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988, but the team shifted the site this year to its home stadium, joining a league-wide trend.

New coach Bruce Arians cut short a planned team run Thursday, saying he'd seen them run enough in the offseason.

"I saw everything I needed to see, stopped it early," Arians said. "We need to put pads on and start hitting each other a little bit and hitting somebody else. Obviously, they're in really good shape and ready to go."

The initial public workout is scheduled for Friday and the team will don pads for the first time Saturday.

"I'm tired of playing soccer," Arians said of the many offseason workouts in shorts. "Soccer's a great game but we play this one in the trenches. I want to see our offensive line and defensive line. I think we can become pretty good pretty quickly."

Absent on Thursday was guard Jonathan Cooper, the first-round draft pick who has yet to reach a contract agreement. Cooper was working as the first-team left guard through most of the offseason practices.

All Arians would say about that situation was: "I'll talk about the guys that are here. The guys that aren't here, I don't have nothing to say about."

After Arians met with reporters, the Cardinals announced a flurry of late afternoon roster moves.

Among them was an announcement that rookie wide receiver Ryan Swope was retiring from football, for now at least, because of concussion issues. Swope had a history of concussions during his record-setting career at Texas A&M but the Cardinals took a chance and selected him in the sixth round. But Swope sustained another concussion during an offseason workout with the Cardinals.

"As a result of a concussion I suffered during OTAs, I was advised by doctors that there were serious risks in returning to play football at this point," Swope said in a statement released by the agency that represents him. "It has been a life-long dream to play in the NFL but my long-term health interests outweigh my current goals in football. Because of that, I am electing to retire from the game for now and then reassess my future after this season. In the meantime, I plan to return to Texas A&M to pursue my degree."

The Cardinals also signed offensive tackle Eric Winston to a one-year contract and outside linebacker/defensive end John Abraham to a two-year deal. The team released outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield, a nine-game starter last season, and signed linebacker Kenny Rowe.

The addition creates an interesting situation on the offensive line, where Levi Brown was projected as the starter at left tackle with second-year pro Bobby Massie on the right side. Winston has started every game in his six NFL seasons -- five with Houston and last year with Kansas City -- and while he said he knows he has to compete for the job, he said he expects to wind up as the starter at right tackle.

Massie practiced some at left tackle late in the offseason workouts. Then there's Nate Potter, who as a rookie became the starting left tackle midway through last season. The coaching staff also wants to use Potter some at guard.

Arians, speaking before the signings were officially announced, wouldn't say the team was looking for outside help because he was dissatisfied with the tackles.

"It's just a matter of if there's somebody out there to make our football team better, that's our job to go get them," the coach said. "The more competition the better."

The team also reportedly was closing in on a deal with outside linebacker John Abraham as a pass rushing specialist.

Brown, labeled an "elite" tackle by Arians earlier this year, wouldn't stop to talk to reporters as the players left the field, saying he had a meeting. But center Lyle Sendlein did stop and spoke of the addition of another tackle.

"It just goes to show you're going to have to compete for your job," Sendlein said.

As for the makeup of the line, Sendlein said, "I wouldn't expect them to put anything in cement because we haven't even put on pads and that's where we do most of our work, or all of our work. So there's going to be decisions made on who's playing and who's going to be on the team and who's not and that's going to be decided on how we perform over the next four or five weeks."

   1 2  -  Next page  >>