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D.J. Foster: It’s a blessing to be an Arizona Cardinal

New England Patriots running back D.J. Foster speaks with members of the media in the team's locker room before an NFL football practice, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

TEMPE, Ariz. – The hometown kid is back.

One of the state’s most dominant high school football players who remained in-state to play his college ball, running back D.J. Foster now looks to make his mark on the team he grew up watching, the Arizona Cardinals.

A day after being signed off of New England’s practice squad, Foster found himself in a Cardinals uniform going through his first practice.

“It means a lot. It was great putting on that jersey,” he said Wednesday. “This is the team that I watched. Being a local guy, this is who I tuned in to watch every week. It’s definitely a blessing to be apart of this organization. I just want to come out here and work hard and help.”

The large smile across his face said it all.

After breaking nearly a half dozen state rushing records at Scottsdale Saguaro High School, including touchdowns in a game (10) and in a single season (60), Foster went on to excel at Arizona State, where he gained at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first three seasons.

Foster, however, went undrafted in 2016. He joined New England as a rookie free agent, picking the Patriots over the Cardinals and Texans.

In his first season, Foster appeared in three games, carrying the ball seven times for 24 yards and catching one pass for two yards.

“I enjoyed my time there,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for that organization. They taught me so much and gave me a foundation.”

Becoming a Cardinal “happened fast,” according to Foster, who said his agent called him and “within an hour I was on my way to the airport. I was excited. I’m definitely happy to be here and go to work.”

The Cardinals added Foster, 23, plus welcomed back veteran running back Chris Johnson this week to help soften the blow of losing David Johnson, who is expected to miss as many as three months after dislocating his left wrist in Week 1.

The Cardinals now have five running backs on the roster.

It may be too much to expect Foster to be active this week against Indianapolis, though head coach Bruce Arians called Foster “a pretty quick learner.”

“We loved him coming out of college,” Arians said, “because he can play the slot receiver and he can play running back. He brings that added addition as a pass receiver. So, just as he learns the offense, he gives us depth at that position.”

Special teams is how Foster will get on the field fastest, Arians added.

However long it takes, Foster is willing to put in the work.

“For me, it’s just come to work everyday, learn as much as I can, be a sponge and just try to get the playbook down as fast as I can so I get on the field and be a part of the team and help those guys,” he said.

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