Cardinals work out in training camp preview
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)
The Arizona Cardinals gave their fans a preview of what the new training camp setup will be, holding their first mandatory minicamp workout in public at University of Phoenix Stadium on Tuesday night.
Before the practice, billed as Fan Fest, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill confirmed that the team would hold its training camp at its home stadium this year.
Bidwill, however, said there was no agreement with the city of Glendale for use of other facilities. Much of the arrangement remains up in the air, including attempts to work out a deal to house the players at a nearby hotel.
The Cardinals had trained at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff every season but one since the team moved from St. Louis in 1988.
Talks with NAU broke down weeks ago and the team has not been able to reach agreement with Glendale on use of nearby facilities, either.
The Cardinals will hold two workouts in Arizona State University's practice dome while the stadium is in use for a soccer game between Real Madrid and the L.A. Galaxy.
First-year coach Bruce Arians said he was confident the stadium would work out. He said a 50-yard artificial turf field would be added to accommodate the 90 players who participate in training camp, although it was unclear where such a field would fit. The domed stadium, with a retractable roof, has a natural grass field that slides out into the sunshine when not in use. The team plans to re-sod the field before the season begins after the wear and tear it will take during camp.
''The way it's scheduled, every seven days we have to have a day off under the CBA (collective bargaining agreement),'' Arians said, ''so we'll be able to get the grass back. I think it will be great. It will be great for the fans.''
Players signed autographs before the workout. Team officials estimated 12,000 people attended the practice. The minicamp shifts back to the team's practice facility in Tempe, on the other side of suburban Phoenix, for the final two minicamp sessions.
Arians' nose was lathered in lotion and he explained that he had some skin cancer scraped from his nose. He said it was fortunate that it was caught early and no surgery was required.
''I'm trying to tell the kids to use sunscreen,'' Arians said.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd did not practice because of hamstring tightness.
The team had annually practiced in the much cooler pines of Flagstaff, at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Bidwill blamed NAU officials for the failure to reach an agreement to keep the camp there.
''Fans need to understand, we tried to make the best decision, competitively for the team. The facilities that NAU had moved us into over the last couple of years were completely sub-standard for a professional football team, and we were paying big rent up there,'' he said.
''I hope the business community understands that it was a few people at NAU that really made this decision easy for us. I was not going to let the team be at a competitive disadvantage by continuing to use those facilities.''
Training camp dates have yet to be announced.
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