O'Brien Schofield is smiling.
Then again, he's always smiling: on the field, off the field.
But this smile is different.
The Cardinals third-year linebacker was just congratulated on the birth of his son, eliciting a wide smile and the proverbial sparkle in the eyes.
Judea Anthony Schofield was born a week ago Wednesday in the early morning hours of May 23rd.
A short time later, the brand new father returned to the practice field, refusing to miss even a minute of the team's second OTA of the offseason.
"I talked to the coaches and they were pretty much OK with me missing the second OTA," said Schofield. "I was up all night, all morning.
"I actually looked into my son's eyes. My fiance, she's Hawaiian so he has green eyes. I looked into his eyes and I was like, 'You know what, I've got to get to work.' I can never take a day off or anything off. I've got to provide. I have someone to provide for now. Just to see that, I think my motivation and my grind, I'm going to work a little bit harder."
The former fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin is always among the last players off the field each day.
But these days -- in addition to his son, Schofield is motivated by playing time. This season, he's expected to start at one of the two outside linebacker positions in the Cardinals 3-4 defense.
"I mean that's my mind-set. I think everyone comes out here to prepare to be a starter," said Schofield, who is currently running with the first team opposite Sam Acho on the other side. "Each day I've been trying to get better and perfect my craft."
Schofield, after missing nearly half his rookie season recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, responded with a strong sophomore campaign. He played in all 16 games in 2011, registering 4.5 sacks -- including three in the final five games.
"That's what I did really well in college," Schofield said of pressuring the quarterback. "I started coming along my first two years in the league and this year I'm ready to put it all together."
Over the offseason, Schofield underwent surgery on both shoulders. He said he had his labrum and rotator cuff worked on in his left shoulder "and then my right one just needed some cleanup."
Finally healthy, Schofield is expecting big things from himself in 2012.
"I'm not going to give no sack number but (Adrian Wilson) has told me he needs at least 10 so I would like to get above 10 or more. That's what I'm working for."
Schofield had 12 sacks his senior year at Wisconsin, but the Cardinals haven't had a player reach double figures in that category since Bertrand Berry tallied 14.5 in 2004.
With his goals set, Schofield knows there's no time to rest, which is a good thing with a one-week-old baby at home.
"I'm happy that we're only practicing three days a week right now so that really helps me recoup on the weekends."