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Steve Keim: Recovering From Covid, And The Ertz Trade

GM knows deal for tight end should bring impact

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim missed his weekly radio segment last week, for good reason -- he had caught Covid, just like his head coach and others in the organization.

"I feel great," Keim said a week later, during his Friday appearance on the "Burns and Gambo" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. "It knocked me down for a few days. From what I understand, being vaccinated certainly helps in that situation."

Keim said he has yet to be cleared to come back to the building but "I feel close." He was part of the conversations, along with owner Michael Bidwill and coach Kliff Kingsbury, about how to proceed with both he and Kingsbury sidelined with Covid. That's where the benefit of spending the last 18 months doing pandemic-related virtual meetings helped; business continues to flow seamlessly even when key people can't be in the building.

As for what the Cardinals pulled off last week when they beat the Browns on the road despite missing so many pieces, "I'm really proud of the group -- not only the players but the coaching staff as well," Keim said. "The leadership we have on this team is second to none.

"When you have players with that mentality in your locker room, that confidence permeates throughout the building."

-- The other topic was the Zach Ertz trade, and Keim's viewpoint with the trade deadline approaching. Keim said the Cards would be "foolish" not to look at any other potential trade opportunities to bolster the roster (although cap space is tight and they had to restructure Jordan Phillips' contract to get Ertz in the door.)

Keim praised Bidwill for being willing to let Keim go get another piece, a player that not only can produce on the field but "a guy guy that really fits in our locker room, fits in what we've done with (Rodney) Hudson, J.J. (Watt) and A,J Green."

He said having Ertz play on a Thursday night and then arrive in trade the next day reminded him of trading for linebacker Markus Golden last year. Golden also played a Thursday night game before being dealt on Friday.

Keim also said that after the heavy lift of roster building is done by the end of the preseason, he relished the chance to make an in-season impact.

"That's the one thing as a general manager you have to keep in mind," Keim said. "You don't have a lot of chances other than small decisions to affect the team. Here is an opportunity that arises from time to time, especially the situation we're in at 6-0 with a very talented team that I think has a chance to do special things this year, to instill confidence in the locker room that the people upstairs and the personnel department and the coaching staff and ownership are willing to do things to help the team.

"It instills the confidence that as an organization we're willing to do whatever it takes to put a championship team on the field. Hopefully, that's a sign for the fans as well."

GM Steve Keim before a game in 2021

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