Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

Antonio Hamilton May Have Finally Conquered The Depth Chart

Cornerback battles to start after years on the fringe of rosters

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton lines up before a play during the preseason opener at Cincinnati.
Cornerback Antonio Hamilton lines up before a play during the preseason opener at Cincinnati.

This isn't just training camp for Antonio Hamilton Sr.. It's an opportunity that took seven years to arrive.

Hamilton has always been near the bottom of the depth chart in his NFL career. Now, the cornerback has a shot at winning a starting job with the Cardinals.

"I've put in the work," Hamilton said. "I'm not necessarily going out there to compete against anybody or take someone's job. That's not what I do. That's not my mindset."

The Cardinals' cornerback situation has been a consistent talking point during camp, as coaches have hinted at possibly adding a defensive back to upgrade the position.

The hopeful impact Jeff Gladney could make in the secondary changed after the 25-year-old unexpectedly passed away this offseason in a car accident. Marco Wilson entered training camp as the expected starter across Byron Murphy, but that has changed. Kliff Kingsbury has admitted hope for someone to "step up" during camp.

Hamilton, who has risen atop the depth chart, could be that guy.

"He plays with that hunger and short term memory," Kingsbury said. "He's not afraid to take risks, set on things, and make plays. He's physical and tough nosed. He can play special teams, too, but we fell in love with him last year; the competitive spirit he came in here with has just improved."

Last season Hamilton spent time on the Cardinals' practice squad before joining the active roster. He received more playing time when Murphy and Robert Alford dealt with injuries. Hamilton had 38 tackles and four passes defensed in 17 games.

Hamilton has had an entire offseason and training camp to understand the defensive scheme better, and as a result, he's more comfortable. The talk surrounding his position is something he's aware of but doesn't care about, either.

He knows he can't control any decisions the front office makes at the position but welcomes the thought of entering the season with their room of cornerbacks.

"We don't look at each other as underdogs," Hamilton said. "I'm all for it. We carry that chip. That makes it better for us going into every game. If opposing teams think we're (the cornerbacks) the slouch of this team, they have another thing coming."

Based on Hamilton's journey during the early part of his career, it's understandable why people root for his success. The Johnston, South Carolina native went undrafted and spent time on several teams before finding a potential home in Arizona.

Growing up, his mother worked different jobs, including managing a fast food restaurant, working in a grocery store, and working at doctor and university hospitals. His upbringing created the strength and resiliency to continue fighting through adversity.

Hamilton is grateful for the journey because it created a different person and a better player. More importantly, it prepared him for this moment with the Cardinals.

"It's been extremely tough," Hamilton said. "I've always had to fight my way up. I never had any handouts. Everything I've gotten in this league, I've earned it. I will continue to do that until I can take care of my family the way I want to take care of them.

"I want to retire my mom. I've been in the league for seven years and haven't gotten that opportunity yet. But I trust in God, and whatever will be for me will be for me. I'm going to keep fighting until I get what I want."