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Among All The Moves, A Goodbye To Hump

His career on the field had some peaks and valleys, but the locker room will miss him

In 2022, when D.J. Humphries was getting ready to face off against Chandler Jones for the first time after the two had a whole iron-sharpens-iron relationship while Cardinals teammates, he described himself to me in a way I have not forgotten.

"I'm the guy who laughs in the middle of blocks, in the middle of plays. I'm having a great time," Humphries said. "But most of the time, the guys I am close with, they are really good. There is only so much hanging out I can do, right? I've got to get him the (expletive) outta here because he's coming off the ball."

Hump, for all his smiles and laughs and quips, could get angry on the field. I remember seeing it up close on a sideline one heated training camp practice in particular. He could get to that dark place football players often needed to be. But he didn't need to be there all the time, and he didn't need to be there to do his job well.

It was an odd career in some ways, his rookie year lost to his own admitted immaturity and a veteran team that was built to win right away (and they reached the NFC Championship game.) Then his next few years he got hurt. But eventually, Hump developed into a solid left tackle, a guy who was called a captain in the locker room, and a team spokesman.

And could he speak. Humphries could speak on almost any subject, and he was going to entertain while doing it. You know how Michael Jordan could have been named MVP every year he played for the Bulls in the NBA but wasn't because it was so obvious people voted elsewhere? That was Hump with the media Good Guy award. You didn't want to miss when he talked because he'd be the highlight of the day.

The day he tore his knee up, in Philly, he was on crutches in the locker room but after the Cardinals had knocked off the Eagles, there was no one more happy and excited.

He served as his own agent for his last contract extension in part because he wanted to expand his business sense. "I probably wouldn't do it again, but it was fun to do," he said after signing.

But being his own agent meant he was right in the middle of whatever discussions that were had leading to Wednesday's move. Hump was smart; I'm sure he knew long before that his salary and age was putting him in the business zone of the NFL.

Yet before the announcement was made Wednesday, Hump was in the facility around lunchtime, rehabbing his torn ACL diligently as he said he would ("Every day I'm going to rehab I'm trying to get this Super Bowl out of this knee") and when he saw me, he flashed the giant D.J. Humphries smile as he said hello. That smile will be missed.

Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman D.J. Humphries (74) during the Week 17 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Dec 31, 2023 in Philadelphia, PA.