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The Business Of Minicamp


Coach Ken Whisenhunt meets with the media after Friday's first minicamp practice.

Minicamp arrives every year, and the result is usually the same.

The theme on the first day is not about football – although Friday, the Cardinals did do a little of that for the first time since playing in Super Bowl XLIII – but about who is there, who is upset about money and contracts, and who is hurt because of it.

The Cardinals had all their veterans show up for the mandatory minicamp. But during the first workout, an absent Karlos Dansby raised eyebrows at first, especially as he works for a long-term deal -- until he showed up at the end of practice after a miscommunication about his physical. Adrian Wilson was there, as he always was, insisting he wasn't worrying about the contract extension the Cards keep saying is coming.

Meanwhile, Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett -- both upset they can't get new contracts -- were apparently going to come out to the workout and watch, after both reported hamstring injuries. Instead, the team sent them to take precautionary MRIs.

"They reported an injury we weren't aware of so as part of our procedure, we sent them for MRIs this morning," coach Ken Whisenhunt said, although even he understood the contractual situation.

"Hey, we know what's going on," Whisenhunt added. "So I'm not going to have much to say about that."

Last year, Boldin ended up in the same scenario, showing for the mandatory minicamp and then not practicing at all because he said his hamstring was acting up. Dockett has three years left on his contract, so his status isn't going to be changing anytime soon. But Boldin, with two years left on his contract, has been locked in a verbal tussle with the team since last offseason.

"This whole process has gone on long enough," Boldin said after the afternoon practice. "I think it is safe to say a lot of people are tired of it, including myself. Hopefully it is (resolved) sooner rather than later. Like I said, my stance never changed. Go back and listen to my interviews last offseason, training camp, whatever. I still feel the same way."

Boldin had asked the organization a couple of times to explore trading him. The team finally relented and openly solicited offers prior to the draft, but never got any proposals worth surrendering a three-time Pro Bowler.

Boldin, however, clearly was leery of the trade-talk process, asking reporters if they thought the Cards had truly made an effort to deal him. When there was no response, Boldin added, "Enough said."

He laughed when asked if he was making a point with his hamstring injury. "Naw, I'm not making a point, I'm just not able to go."

Boldin said he won't give up hope for a trade. He also wouldn't say he would be OK with an extension from the team, repeating a couple of times "my mind never changed. I still feel the same way" as he has all along.

Boldin added it was "too early to say what I will or won't do" in terms of showing up to training camp.

His biggest supporter in the locker room, quarterback Kurt Warner, understands the dilemma facing both the Cardinals and Boldin.

"We're not the same team, I'm not the same player, without Anquan Boldin," Warner said. "There is value in that. The hard part of this whole thing is this business is a business of timing. As an organization, you set things in place and say, this guy is going to come up in this (particular) year, you say this is when we address these two guys, and this is when we address these two guys.

"So much is timing and the perfect timing. You just can't get to everybody every year. You understand the frustration on all sides."

The Cardinals have made it clear they want to extend Dansby and Wilson first, before embarking on any Boldin talks. The salary cap also plays a role; the team currently has between $5.3 and $5.4 million in cap room.

Dansby could get a long-term deal. Right now, he is playing under the one-year franchise tag number of $9.7 million. The last time he talked about his contract, he said he thought about "making a splash" in the 2010 free-agent market and didn't sound like a guy seeking to be locked up long term.

Friday, Dansby punted the question, especially after similar linebackers like Leroy Hill and veteran Ray Lewis more or less set the position's market.

"I'm not sure," Dansby said, referring contract questions to his agent. "I just want to strap it on again, get back to hitting guys and making plays."

Wilson said he didn't want to talk about his contract, and expressed surprise anyone would have thought he might have sat on the sidelines. He emphasized he didn't want to speak for any of his teammates, but personally, he wanted to enjoy life and his family and football, things that can be "taken away from you so quickly."

"Sometimes you have to let that petty stuff be petty stuff," said Wilson, who is going into the last year of his contract.

The contract issues can be a problem "if you keep worrying about it and if people keep talking about it," Wilson added. "You have to be positive in situations. I have said things in the past, and I still mean those things, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to come here and work."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 5/1/09. Updated 5/1/09.

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