Home Again, Brett Hundley Seeks To See The World

Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley by the Eiffel Tower in Paris earlier this offseason.
Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley by the Eiffel Tower in Paris earlier this offseason.

Rio de Janeiro was the first stop, then Cartagena and Bogotá in Colombia, before Brett Hundley went to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The quarterback knew he’d play somewhere in 2019. He didn’t know where, and he told his agent he didn’t want to know until the time came to sign his contract. Until then, there were places to visit, cultures to embrace.

Hundley made it to Milan, Italy and then Belgrade, Serbia, all with only a loose plan rather than true itinerary – “I like organized chaos,” he said – before reaching Paris. And that’s where he finally got word the Arizona Cardinals, his hometown team, was ready for him to ink a deal, and Hundley flew back to Arizona.

“It’s almost like it’s full circle,” said Hundley, the former star at nearby Chandler High School who played at UCLA before being drafted by the Packers in 2015 and spending the 2018 season as Russell Wilson’s backup in Seattle.

“I left (home) when I was 17 and I haven’t really been back,” Hundley said. “Even in the offseasons I’ve been training in L.A. or I’ve been out of the country. The times I have come back I can count on one hand, and it may have been for a couple days at a time.

“Now to have the opportunity to come back (to play), it’s been a blessing just to be able to see friends, be around everyone I grew up with. I’m excited.”

Home is only temporary, though. Hundley doesn’t want his stint with the Cardinals to be short-term, and he wants to play a long time in the NFL. Hundley’s future after football, well, he’s not sure exactly where it will be, but it isn’t in Arizona.

Images taken by or featuring Cardinals quarterback/photographer Brett Hundley as he visits other countries

WANDERING THE GLOBE

April Hundley is a flight attendant, and Brett has no doubt that’s where his passion for travel began.

“Brett’s got that wanderlust that I have, and actually my mother, when she was my age, saved up her money and went abroad,” April Hundley said. “It’s kind of in his genes.”

April told her kids early and often to experience different things in life. Brett has had no problems embracing such a philosophy. In high school, he dove into photography, a hobby he plans to make his career when football is over. Gorgeous shots of the places he has visited, some featuring Hundley but many that he has taken himself, dot his Instagram account.

His mother’s job allowed him to travel easily when he was younger, but he was going places with his family. His first “serious” trip came when he was 21 and a rookie in the NFL. He traveled to Thailand and Beijing, China, on an all-inclusive two-week trip he found, of all places, on Groupon.com.

Hundley got into a tiger cage to pet the animal. He bathed an elephant. He visited the Great Wall of China.

“That trip,” he said, “started everything.”

As a family member, Hundley used to be able to get cheap passes through his mother, but those aren’t an option anymore. Not that Hundley minds the cost of plane flights. He finds other places to save. If he stays at a hotel, he often communicates with the property ahead of time, bartering his room cost or the cost of local activities in exchange for him taking photos of the hotel that they can use in advertisements.

Most of the time, Hundley likes to stay in hostels. Sure, it’s inexpensive, but mostly, he loves the ability to meet people from all over the world and go out into town with them. He’s made countless friends from other countries.

Hundley also won’t sit still. He’s got places to go and see. On that trip earlier this year in which he finally came back to sign his contract, he actually was supposed to go from Paris over to Spain, then Rome before taking a train through Italy, and finally over to Poland.

“I am a non-stop traveler,” Hundley said. “I don’t sleep much when I travel, I am non-stop moving. You only have a limited amount of time. You may be tired, but give me some coffee and I’m good to go. I will not sit in the hotel all day. I will not stay at a resort. I want to experience where I am at – try the foods, experience the culture.”

Now that the offseason work is over, Hundley has places to go. He and three friends have a massive trip planned – Tel Aviv, Israel to Athens, Greece to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa and finally to Turkey.

After the season, Hundley said he wants to visit New Zealand and Philippines.

“Once football is over – and I told my family, I told my friends – I’m not living in the U.S. for two or three years,” Hundley said. “I’m going to live in Thailand or Bali, move and jump around and live outside the country.”

Quarterback Brett Hundley throws a pass during the Cardinals' recent minicamp.
Quarterback Brett Hundley throws a pass during the Cardinals' recent minicamp.

FOOTBALL IN HIS BACKYARD

Perhaps, then, it was fortuitous that Hundley gets to play football for his hometown team. Even though Hundley has rarely returned home, his mother shrugs that away. Given her job, there have been plenty of times Hundley’s parents have been able to visit him, and besides, FaceTime is a wonderful invention.

“He’s a free spirit and I’m a free spirit, so I get it,” April Hundley said.

His mother also thinks this is a perfect time in her son’s life to be at home, at least for a while. Hundley thought back in free agency – he did have conversations with his agent about the various teams seeking his services, before Hundley left on his pre-signing trip – that the Cardinals would be an excellent fit. They had assistant coaches Tom Clements and David Raih, guys who had been on the Packers’ staff when he was there, and there was also the allure of Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. The latter has the potential to dovetail nicely with Hundley’s go-go mentality.

“It’s a match made in heaven,” Hundley said.

Rookie Kyler Murray is unquestionably the starter at quarterback, but Hundley arrives having played not only with Aaron Rodgers but also Russell Wilson, to whom Murray is often compared.

“(Brett) has been in the league for quite some time now,” Murray said. “He’s giving me advice on things he’s seen and he’s obviously played with some greats, so it’s good for me.”

Coming to the Cardinals also puts him in the same locker room as Larry Fitzgerald, who himself has made his offseasons about foreign trips to new lands and new experiences. Fitzgerald actually has a map at home with pushpins documenting all the places he has gone – and where he still wants to go.

Fitzgerald said he hasn’t yet had a chance to talk travel with Hundley, but is well aware of the quarterback’s globe-hopping, having been told about it by Rodgers when Hundley played in Green Bay.

“I need a sit-down over a cold beer with Larry,” Hundley said. “I want to go on a trip with him just to see how he rolls.”

First, Hundley heads to Tel Aviv and beyond. Training camp and the grind of a season will come soon enough. Hundley admits every player is different with how he handles downtime, but it was Rodgers who gave him the advice to get away from the game so that the focus would be sharp once he returned.

“It can get stale,” Hundley said. “Traveling allows me to take a step back from football, and when I come back, all my attention is devoted to it.”

Advertising