Cardinals first-round pick Haason Reddick (left) has some fun with teammate Chad Williams before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Friday night's Diamondbacks game.
Haason Reddick, fitting for a first-round draft pick, was certain his stuff would be electric Friday night when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks game.
The fellow rookies he brought with him expected as much.
"Can't go up there and look like 50 Cent," tackle Will Holden said.
Reddick delivered a strike – the Cardinals linebacker was joined by the Phoenix Suns first-round pick, Josh Jackson – and noted that "the D-Backs might want to come holler at me."
It had been important for Reddick to invite his teammates, who made sure to ask them all after he found out he would be taking the mound. Not all could
join, but in all 11 rookies took part in Reddick's baseball excursion: Holden, wide receiver Chad Williams, center Lucas Crowley, cornerback Gump Hayes, receiver Krishawn Hogan, cornerback Ryan Lewis, tackle Jonathan McLaughlin, cornerback Sojourn Shelton, tight end Steven Wroblewski, defensive tackle Pasoni Tasini and cornerback Rudy Ford.
"With all the OTAs and the minicamps and the training, to be able to do something as a group instead of sitting around the hotel, we get to be a group and enjoy each other's company," Reddick said. "We get to bond."
It's not unusual this time of year for the rookies to bond. They arrive as a group – both drafted and undrafted – at the same time, learning their way around an NFL team while the veterans are set.
The rookies have one week left of a three-week stint in Tempe without the veterans. They finish June 30; the Cardinals report to training camp July 21. In addition to work on the field and in the weight room, the group also has taken a field trip to the county jail, part of the team's off-field player development.
"This is kind of our time," Williams said. "At first, you're just trying to find your way around the building. Now, I can walk through the building with a blindfold on."
Coach Bruce Arians had already praised the work ethic of the class during full-team work. The rookies hope they can use some of the chemistry they are building now to aid once the team reconvenes next month.
"I have a lot of friends on other teams right now and they are back home," Holden said. "They are not even talking to any of their new teammates. They didn't really do anything together during their time in OTAs and minicamp. When you get guys together when you really don't know each other, before the season, it's really good to go into camp like that."
Images from Haason Reddick throwing out the first pitch at the Diamondbacks game