GLENDALE -- The pads were a-poppin' Sunday.
"Football did start today," cornerback Patrick Peterson said with a smile.
Head coach Bruce Arians, as far back as offseason OTAs, had grown tired of watching his players practice in shorts.
"Yeah, I'm tired of playing soccer," he said earlier. "I mean soccer is a great game but we play this one in the trenches."
Of course, Arians had no choice in the matter.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) did not allow for padded practices over the summer or the first two days of training camp.
Sunday was day three; meaning out came the shoulder pads, thigh pads and knee pads.
"When you put the pads on, everything gets real," safety Yeremiah Bell said. "It's easy to come out in shorts and helmets and run around, but when you put on the pads, everything gets serious. You really get to see your football team. It was good to come out here today and kind of bang a little bit."
Said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, "That's what you live for in this game. It's a contact sport."
Of course with contact, sometimes comes injuries.
Both running back Ryan Williams and right guard Daryn Colledge left practice early. Williams had ice on his right knee for a time, while Colledge appeared to hurt his right leg. After being checked out on the sideline, he was carted back to the locker room.
Arians opened up the playbook, giving the 9,100 fans in attendance a glimpse of the quarterbacks running the read-option plus Peterson lining up as a wide receiver.
The Pro-Bowl corner caught two passes, but missed a third reception when Ryan Lindley under threw him on a deep ball down the right sideline.
"I told Ryan, ‘When No. 21 is out there, make him run.' I don't want to have to turn around and try to catch the ball. I think I have enough speed; anywhere you throw the ball I'm pretty comfortable I'm going to get it," said Peterson, who has four career receptions.
The good news though once again: The pads are here and here to stay.
"That's how football is played," linebacker Sam Acho said.