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Post-Trade, Desmond Ridder Has Memorable First Journey To Arizona

Quarterback balances family wedding with seeing his new work place

New Cardinals quarterback Desmond Ridder visited the Cardinals facility for the first time Friday after his trade from the Falcons.
New Cardinals quarterback Desmond Ridder visited the Cardinals facility for the first time Friday after his trade from the Falcons.

Friday turned out to be a long day for Desmond Ridder.

The former Falcons quarterback, traded to the Cardinals the day before in exchange for wide receiver Rondale Moore (the trade isn't official until both pass physicals), arrived in Arizona for his medicals and to meet with his new coaches only after missing his initial flight.

One of his kids was sick, he was told to go to an A gate when it was an F gate in the always daunting Atlanta airport, and then the train system that was to move him from one place to the next was out of service. His kids, by the way, are almost 3 and one month.

That didn't even include the whirlwind part of his job, finding out he was being traded after two years in Atlanta as a part-time starter to come to the Cardinals, where he will be the leading candidate to back up Kyler Murray.

"What's today? Friday?" Ridder said late Friday afternoon after meeting with Jonathan Gannon for the first time.

The timing could've been a little better, since Ridder and his family are headed to a wedding on the East coast. But with a new coaching staff in Atlanta and the decision to sign Kirk Cousins, Ridder knew some kind of change might be coming.

"I didn't play to what I thought the expectations were of myself last season," Ridder said. "We knew there were other opportunities that could come available.

"We just want to make the most of any opportunity with my career and my life as a whole. It didn't work out but God works in mysterious ways and now we're in beautiful Arizona."

Ridder started 13 games last season, completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 2,836 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 83.4, finding himself benched a couple of times and leading the Falcons to seek out veteran Kirk Cousins as a free agent.

Ridder arrives to play for a team that has Kyler Murray – whom Ridder has never met – as the starter and Clayton Tune – with whom Ridder is friends – the man he'll have to beat out to be the No. 2.

Ridder first met Tune last year when Ridder was doing offseason training after his rookie season and Tune was at the same facility training for the Combine and draft. The two also had some mutual connections and faced each other in college when Tune was playing for Houston and Ridder for Cincinnati.

As for the chance to play with Murray, "I was talking to someone the other day and he said this might be the first time in your career you're not the fastest in the room. That probably will piss me off a little bit, but nah, it'll be fun."

The family was making only a pit stop in the desert, needing to return to the airport late Friday night for a red eye flight. The wedding is in Key West, Florida, which is where they had been originally scheduled to fly Friday morning before the trade jammed up the itinerary.

"I just want to get through this weekend," Ridder said with a smile. "The whole ordeal – the trade, moving, trying to find a place, I haven't even dove into that yet. At 5:15 this morning I was just worried about getting to the airport, which we failed. We've got to check this (weekend) box first."