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Carson Palmer: Cardinals My Final Team

Notes: Veteran loves the organization; Third QB options struggling; Nelson returns

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Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is happy to stay with the team until he retires.


Contract extension talks are often prolonged and tense, a standoff between two sides that can get ugly.

When the Cardinals approached quarterback Carson Palmer about adding a year to his current deal, he didn't dig in his heels and battle for leverage. He simply asked for a pen.

"I didn't hesitate," said Palmer, who is now under contract through 2018. "I've been playing my whole career to be in a situation like this."

In his first public comments since signing the extension, Palmer spent a good portion of his press conference on Tuesday raving about the Cardinals' organization from top to bottom. He loves team president Michael Bidwill's willingness to sign off on various upgrades, General Manager Steve Keim's ability to find talent and Bruce Arians' play-calling and coaching prowess.

He also appreciates the work done by the behind-the-scenes personnel: the trainers, equipment managers, chiropractors, doctors and field managers who aren't in the spotlight.

Palmer, 36, had some trying times in previous stops in Cincinnati and Oakland, and was clear that the Cardinals will be his final NFL home.

"It's a top-flight, first-class organization, and guys that have played elsewhere understand that and realize how special it is," Palmer said. "That's why I'm so happy to finish my career here, and know this is where it ends."

The different components Palmer mentioned have helped turn the Cardinals into a Super Bowl contender. The 2015 team won a franchise-record 13 games and made it to the NFC Championship game, but Palmer said Keim has put together a more impressive roster this year.

"I thought last year's team was really, really good until we started working in OTAs," Palmer said. "And then we got to training camp and you see how much better this team is than last year, and we still have room to grow. Just knowing Steve and what his abilities are – to bring in vets, bring in rookies and to take chances on guys like (rookie cornerback) Brandon Williams – you see the talent that he has. I don't see a window (to contend). I just see opportunity."

BARKLEY, COKER NEED TO IMPROVE

Matt Barkley is expected to play the most of any Cardinals quarterback in Friday's preseason game against the Raiders, while rookie undrafted free agent Jake Coker will play the fourth quarter, Arians said.

Barkley has been inconsistent in training camp, and Arians needs to see more from him and Coker if either plans to make the team as a third quarterback.

"They both have to step it up to be one," Arians said.

If the Cardinals keep only Palmer and backup Drew Stanton on the active roster, the team will have a third quarterback on the practice squad.

J.J. NELSON RETURNS TO PRACTICE

Wide receiver J.J. Nelson (groin) returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to be available against Oakland. Linebacker Lamar Louis returned as well. Wide receiver John Brown (head) is getting close to a return but won't play.

Guard Earl Watford (knee bruise) and cornerback Cariel Brooks (quadriceps) were injured Monday and are out for an undetermined length of time. Wide receivers Jaxon Shipley and Brittan Golden left Tuesday's practice early with injuries.

Linebacker Alani Fua (knee), cornerback Mike Jenkins (hand), nose tackle Corey Peters (foot), cornerback Elie Bouka (hamstring), cornerback Asa Jackson (leg), defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (ankle) and center Taylor Boggs (calf) missed practice.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu (knee), cornerback Justin Bethel (foot) and Nkemdiche (ankle) could make their training camp debuts next week when the Cardinals practice against the Chargers.

"We'll just see," Arians said. "If it's the end of the week, we probably won't. If it's the beginning of the week and we can get both practices in, we will."

Images from the ninth practice of training camp



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