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Cardinals "Antsy" To Get Started

Posted Mar 12, 2016

Palmer, Fitzgerald move past hard NFC Championship loss

Cornerback Patrick Peterson (left) and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald share a laugh and some trash talk during Kurt Warner's charity tournament Saturday.

The Cardinals are still a little more than a month away from beginning their offseason program. Carson Palmer wishes it would come sooner than that.

The offseason is great but you get to this point in the offseason and you are ready for the offseason to be over,” the quarterback said Saturday, while taking part in Kurt Warner’s annual First Things First Foundation charity flag football tournament. “I’m getting antsy.”

The team’s NFC Championship loss hasn’t been forgotten. But Palmer, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, cornerback Patrick Peterson and quarterback Drew Stanton – all of whom were taking part in Warner’s event – aren’t dwelling on it either.

“I’ve closed that chapter,” Fitzgerald said. “It didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but 31 teams feel the exact same way we do. Good thing about next year, we pretty much have the same nucleus of guys we ended the season with, so that’s great. (GM) Steve (Keim) and upper management are doing everything they can to strengthen the roster in free agency, and I know they’ll do a heck of a job.”

Palmer said this offseason has been, not surprisingly, very different for him. Last year, he was invited by Warner to take part in the flag football event but Palmer had to turn it down because he had not yet been cleared to do on-field work.

Now, Palmer said, he’s had plenty of rest and recovery. His main work of late has been watching what the Cardinals are doing in free agency. There has not be a lot of free agent activity from the team thus far. Safety Tyvon Branch has been a lone signee, although the Cardinals are scheduled to bring in veteran cornerback Leon Hall in for a visit Monday.

Palmer admitted he pays close attention. He not only has been following the Branch and Hall news, but he said he was closely monitoring Stanton’s free-agent progress and has been talking with free agents Jermaine Gresham and Jerraud Powers to see what their situations could be.

“I am a superfan,” Palmer said. “I’m on the outside. Not involved, but I am paying close attention to it.”

Palmer has history with both players. He was teammates with Branch in Oakland – “He’s kind of like an Energizer bunny” – and was teammates with Hall in Cincinnati – “He’s a great nickel (corner)” – to give him a unique perspective on the new players.

Fitzgerald, meanwhile, was asked if, in light of the news Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson retired, Fitzgerald was thinking more of his own athletic mortality. Fitzgerald, who will turn 33 in August, is going into the last year of his contract.

“Very few guys get to actually retire,” Fitzgerald said. “Most players get retired. You know what I mean?”

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