Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham meets with the media Saturday.
Carson Palmer was a busy man this summer. The Cardinals' quarterback continued to rehabilitate from ACL surgery, he lined up workouts with teammates near his home in California, and in his down time, he even became a salesman.
After veteran tight end John Carlson retired this offseason, the Cardinals were in need of experience within the position group. In late July, there weren't many better options on the free agent market besides Jermaine Gresham, a two-time Pro Bowler coming off back surgery.
Palmer and Gresham played together with the Bengals in 2010 and had kept in touch over the years. Recently, Palmer turned up the heat.
"I'm always texting, calling, recruiting when I can," Palmer said. "I don't know how much of a role it played."
Gresham met with the media for the first time Saturday after signing with the Cardinals on July 23, and said Palmer's propaganda contributed quite a bit to his decision.
"He sold it well," Gresham said. "I'm happy to make it my home for the year."
Gresham started training camp on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to heal, and said his return to the field will come "hopefully soon." If he gets back to the level he's shown in the first five years of his career, Gresham could become the team's featured pass-catching tight end, though a defined role wasn't part of the team's sales pitch.
"They didn't promise me anything," Gresham said. "They gave me an opportunity to come in and play football, just an opportunity to come in and help this team to the Super Bowl."
Gresham's injury likely cost him money and a longer contract on the open market, but he said he's ready to look forward.
"I'm not going to lie to you, it was pretty tough," Gresham said. "I had a lot going on this offseason. At the end of the day, I find peace with playing football. Not being able to play football and dealing with all the other stuff, it was tough. But that's all behind me now."
NOT CAMP CUPCAKE TO EVERYBODY
On Friday, coach Bruce Arians deemed this "Camp Cupcake" because of its comfortable conditions
compared to the training camps of yesteryear which featured two-a-day practices and dorm room living, but the players pushed back on Saturday as practice began. "I haven't gotten a cupcake yet, so I won't consider it that," quarterback Drew Stanton said.
Palmer: "I don't remember it being any more difficult than these are. We get after it. We're out there for two hours and 40 minutes. It's so competitive and it's so fast-paced and up-tempo. I think way back to when we had those double days, and you just can't go that hard for that long, so practice isn't as competitive or intense. This one practice we do a day is plenty."
While wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald acknowledged the Cardinals' situation isn't as hard as Arians' playing days at Virginia Tech -- where he said Arians was "probably practicing three or four times a day" -- he said calling it Camp Cupcake goes overboard.
"Coach is a little far removed from practices," Fitzgerald said. "The further you get away from it, the less and less you remember how much of a grind it was. ... It's definitely different but I wouldn't go as far as to call it cupcake."
A QUARTERBACK ON BORROWED TIME?
The Cardinals are comfortable now with five quarterbacks on the roster, but Arians said one could be cut if an injury happens at another position. Logan Thomas, Phillip Sims and Chandler Harnish began their training camp battle on Saturday for the No. 3 quarterback spot, but there's no guarantee all of them make it to the first preseason game.
"Very, very few times have I ever had five quarterbacks in camp," Arians said. "That position could lose the first one, if we start losing legs at wide receiver or DB. It's a battle every day for those three guys."
FELLS, WEATHERSPOON LEAVE PRACTICE EARLY
Arians was hoping to escape the first practice with his players in full health, but linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and tight end Darren Fells each left early. Arians spoke to the media before practice, so it's unknown if either injury is anything but minor. Weatherspoon reportedly hurt his hamstring.
Outside linebacker Zack Wagenmann was removed from the non-football injury list and made his Cardinals practice debut. He went undrafted after suffering a broken foot in a pre-draft workout, but had 17½ sacks last season at Montana and was named the Big Sky defensive player of the year.
Images from the first practice of 2015 training camp