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Michael Bidwill: "No Dropoff" During Steve Keim's Absence

Team making moves without suspended GM as training camp begins

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill (left) and coach Steve Wilks on the field during Friday's conditioning test.
Cardinals president Michael Bidwill (left) and coach Steve Wilks on the field during Friday's conditioning test.

The Cardinals made a Steve Keim type of signing on Friday morning, inking veteran safety Tre Boston to a one-year deal at a team-friendly rate.

This time, though, the general manager wasn't involved.

Keim was absent as the Cardinals opened up training camp with a conditioning test at University of Phoenix Stadium. He continues to serve his five-week suspension for driving under the influence.

Keim can't have any contact with the team until his expected return on August 22, so this week's signings of Boston, defensive end Arthur Moats and defensive end Jacquies Smith were made without his input. Team president Michael Bidwill initiated a meeting with reporters to stress his unhappiness with Keim's decision to drink and drive – "I came down hard on him," Bidwill said – but doesn't think Keim's absence will negatively affect the tweaking of the roster.

"We all know his preferences and what he likes to do," said Bidwill, who promoted Keim to GM in 2013. "We can pretty much predict Steve's decisions here with pretty good accuracy. We've taken the philosophy that in his absence we're going to try to make the decisions that Steve Keim would make. … We feel there's been no dropoff here with his absence, and that was the key."

Keim will return in time for the 53-man roster cutdown provided he fulfills all of the stipulations ordered of him following the arrest. Until then, Bidwill said he has attended every meeting and been looped in on every email to which  Keim would have been privy.

While Bidwill disputed the idea that he was the acting GM, he is focused on keeping everything in normal working order. Bidwill said Keim's absence wouldn't preclude the team from signing running back David Johnson to a contract extension.

"I'm trying to move along in very business-like fashion," Bidwill said.

Coach Steve Wilks said there has been good communication between the coaching staff and the front office, and that Bidwill is heavily involved in the decision-making.

"Things are going smooth," Wilks said. "We're not sitting back, waiting, twiddling our thumbs. We've got to proceed and move forward. We have a 2018 season to get ready for."

When Bidwill first learned of Keim's legal troubles, they talked on the phone and Bidwill said there would be a "swift and strong response" to his actions. In addition to the five-week suspension, Keim was fined $200,000. Bidwill believes it is the highest suspension and fine in NFL history for a DUI.

"Because of his position and because of all the circumstances, I felt like it was an appropriate response and punishment," Bidwill said.

"In this day and age, there is no excuse to drink and drive," Bidwill added.