New wide receiver Michael Floyd chats with receivers coach Frank Reich in the weight room prior to Floyd's press conference Friday in Tempe.
Michael Floyd was exhausted. He hadn't had much sleep after an emotional night in New York attending the NFL draft, and after a cross country trip to the Valley for his introductory press conference Friday, the wide receiver admitted he was looking forward to getting back to his own bed.
That didn't stop the smiles, though, however weary as they might have been. The Cardinals' top choice was a first-round draft pick, living out the dream he had always had for himself. And he was living it out despite his own doubts just about a year before, when he had been suspended by the Notre Dame football team for most of the offseason.
"As soon as I got in trouble, I thought (my dream) was over," Floyd acknowledged. "But when I got the chance to reveal myself and show that wasn't really me and that was a mistake I learned from, I changed from there."
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was convinced Floyd put behind him whatever issues he might have had, including the DUI arrest. The Cards were too, which is why they chose him 13th overall. Floyd, meanwhile, displayed all the honesty that Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt praised him for Friday while calmly talking about his journey back into the sport's good graces.
"I didn't want my image to be a negative one," Floyd said. "I wanted it to be positive and make sure the image people get of me is positive."
The Cardinals brought in Floyd just last week – Monday, the same day players returned to start the offseason conditioning program – to talk more to Floyd, with whom they had gotten the all-to-brief 15-minute interview with at the Scouting combine.
That allowed them to get more in-depth from a football perspective, Whisenhunt said, without the hectic deadlines in Indianapolis.
"You don't always have to do that," Whisenhunt said. "It wasn't that we had to do that with him. It was a bonus."
Floyd broke down his strengths and weaknesses as a player about how you'd expect from a 6-foot-2, 220-pounder. He thinks he can go get the ball in the air in a contested situation, and he wants to improve on getting in and out of his breaks.
"You've seen him do that in college," Whisenhunt said. "The question is how will in translate in the pros? We think based on all the work we have put in (studying him) it will translate very well."
The other parts of his life should as well. Floyd graduated in December with a degree in sociology, and is planning to attend the Cards' rookie minicamp the weekend of May 12 and then walk for his diploma the following weekend.
Of that accomplishment he and his family are proud, since he said no one else in his family has graduated from college. The goal was to reach the NFL, however.
"Hearing my name called … I got to live my dream," Floyd said.
While standing on the Radio City Music Hall stage Thursday, Floyd said it wasn't about reflecting on what he overcame as much as the pure excitement of being picked.
But it's clear Floyd hasn't forgotten what he has gone through and what it has meant to him. Whisenhunt chuckled when it was suggested that the suspension could end up being a good thing for Floyd, but he drew a parallel to the player and his new team.
"Hopefully it'll be a little bit like our team," Whisenhunt said. "We went through a tough stretch and we were able to turn it around and build some momentum off of that. Maybe it's a similar situation. It wasn't great for him a year ago and he turned it into a positive. Now he's our first-round pick."