My two days at Larry Fitzgerald’s Minnesota camp are over (story coming soon), and I know many are wondering who exactly is showing up to the workouts. Obviously, it’s an ever evolving thing. Not everyone shows every day, or every week. I was told Vikings Christian Ponder and Kyle Rudolph were there the week before. And, oh yeah, Cards rookie Michael Floyd was there Tuesday but not Monday.
As I mentioned before, Cardinals wide receivers Andre Roberts and Stephen Williams were there, as was quarterback Rich Bartel.
But I have to admit, it was hard not to notice the mixing of the NFC West rivals. Seahawks running back Leon Washington and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette were also there, and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson came too. Rams safety Craig Dahl was also in the middle of the action. Now, there are reasons.
Lockette and Jackson is a former Viking and has roots in Minnesota, as does Dahl, who was raised there. Washington doesn’t, but heard about it through his Seattle teammates and brought his wife, with the two of them hanging out at Fitz’s house afterward and taking part in water sports Fitz enjoys in the lake behind his house.
The battles for the division seemed far away.
“This group of guys is really competitive on and off the field,” Dahl said. “We come together in the summer time to reunite and push each other. On Sundays, it might be a different story.”
At one point, Fitzgerald good-naturedly tried to stop an interview with Washington (pictured below, with Fitz). Something about putting an infiltrator on the Cardinals’ website. There is plenty of trash talking about what will happen in the division later on, but that only makes sense.
“We all respect each other, we all want each other to do well,” Washington said. “When it’s the offseason, we can work together. When Sunday comes around and you match up against each other … you want your team to come out with the victory. I’ll be pulling for the Seahawks all the time.”
(Side note: There were no 49ers and I don’t believe any were expected.)
Among the others in attendance during my time there were Jacksonville receivers Laurent Robinson and Cecil Shorts, Tampa receiver Tiquan Underwood (famous for being cut by the Patriots on the eve of last year’s Super Bowl) and Vikings linebacker Everson Griffen.
“We’re a fraternity,” Fitzgerald said. “There’s only 1,600 of us.”
Tags: Andre Roberts, Cecil Shorts, Craig Dahl, Everson Griffen, Larry Fitzgerald, Laurent Robinson, Leon Washington, Michael Floyd, Ricardo Lockette, Richard Bartel, Stephen Williams, Tiquan Underwood
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Ninety minutes before free agency began Tuesday came this tweet from the New York Times’ Judy Battista: “Remember to breath into the brown paper bag regularly. FA winners are rarely SB winners.” Better advice was never spoken.
It’s hard in free agency for fans. I get that. Once, when the league (for some reason) was starting free agency at midnight Eastern time (which was usually 10 p.m. here in Arizona) such things got lost at first because, you know, people actually went to bed. This year they moved the time to the middle of the day, which is a brilliant strategy for attention — tell me the NFL isn’t the center of the sports universe today. Add in the match-to-the-dried-forest effect Twitter has on instant news and speculation, and it’s simply insane.
A few hours into free agency, here’s what is known: The Cards are clearly looking at receivers. Multiple reports have them expressing interest in Cowboys receiver Laurent Robinson, who is a 6-foot-2 vertical threat who is planning on visiting the Jaguars. Kent Somers reported that he ran into Raiders receiver Chaz Schilens in the parking lot as he arrived for a visit, another big (6-5) guy who had 23 catches last year. Jim Thomas in St. Louis reported Titans guard Jake Scott — a former Peyton Manning teammate — is going to visit Arizona. Raiders running back Michael Bush said something on Twitter about coming to Arizona, but he just said the place and made no mention of the Cards or a visit, so it’s tough to know if he’s here because it’s Arizona in March or if the Cards actually have interest. (Turns out, Mike Jurecki says, Bush is not visiting.)
The Cards just made the one cut Tuesday to get them under the cap — tackle Levi Brown, as expected — and yes, more could/will come as free agents are signed. No reason to dump a player before you have to dump one. Again, this is all fluid. As it should be.
Then there is the Peyton Manning watch. Again, the Cards are waiting to see what happens. There is a decision to be made Friday by 1 p.m. on Kevin Kolb and if Manning doesn’t choose by then it’ll be very interesting to see what the Cards do. But two days-plus in this equation is an eternity when it’ll take a moment’s notice for Manning to say, “I’m in” or not. A lot can happen between now and Friday.
And no, I don’t have a gut feeling or inside knowledge or anything on Manning. I find it hard to believe anyone does.
UPDATE: CB Richard Marshall said on Twitter Tuesday night he was taking a free-agent visit to Miami.
So keep some perspective, enjoy some of the odd choices being made (an apparent ton of money for Pierre Garcon, along with Josh Morgan and probably Eddie Royal, as the RG3 receiving corps? Really?) and let’s have this play out a little.
Tags: Chaz Schilens, free agency, Jake Scott, Kevin Kolb, Laurent Robinson, Levi Brown, Michael Bush, Peyton Manning
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