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A Running Start To Camp

Posted Jul 25, 2013

Williams and his teammates happy to get work at University of Phoenix Stadium underway

From left, Rashad Johnson, Curtis Taylor, Rashard Mendenhall and Bryan McCann take part in Thursday's conditioning test.

The uproar Dan Williams’ weight issues caused two years ago is still seared into the nose tackle’s memory.

Williams remembers how big of a deal it was that he reported seven pounds overweight in 2011. Heading into his fourth training camp with the Cardinals, he didn’t want his weight to again be a topic of conversation.

He dropped weight during this past offseason and it helped save the Cardinals from running three 300-yard run tests Thursday, the first day of training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium. Despite coming in last on the second 300, Williams showed coach Bruce Arians all he wanted to see and Arians cut the run test short before the final sprints.

“He looked great. His weight is way down. He hit his weight,” Arians said. “I judged the running test on him. He hit his number and I said, ‘That’s enough, we’re all good.’

“If Danny’s good, we’re good. I was really, really pleased with Dan.”

It was a good thing, too, that Arians didn’t make his team run a final 300 yards, cornerback Patrick Peterson said.

“Some guys were lucky that we had two,” he said. “If we would have run that third one, some guys would’ve been out of gas.”

Williams needed a few minutes to catch his breath after running 600 yards in less than 5 minutes. He spent the offseason preparing for Thursday but that doesn’t mean he enjoyed it.

“Me, personally, I don’t understand why big men are running 600, 900 yards before practice,” Williams said. “I’m just finally happy it’s over so we can get back to football.”

Football begins Friday. Arians said the Cardinals will again be in shorts albeit running through a full practice, which is taking place at their home stadium for the first time since the team relocated to Arizona in 1988.

But the players don’t mind.

The general consensus about moving practice was positive as the players reported, most just an hour’s drive from their homes.

“It’s going to be fun to be home, especially in our dome, to get used to the field a little bit,” Peterson said. “But coach said he doesn’t want us to get used to the air conditioning. He wants to make it tough on us so we can be ready to play those opponents that do have the open stadiums.”

Arians said the team will try to practice outdoors three times during camp, most likely back at the Tempe practice facility. The Cardinals appeared to be content with trading a month of 70 degrees for a quick drive home. But with temperatures inching toward 100 on Thursday and reaching triple digits for the rest of the week, Peterson was quick to point out one thing he’ll miss about the drive up the hill.

“Definitely going to miss that weather,” he said with a laugh.


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