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Cardinals’ Robert Nkemdiche ‘not in shape’ as he starts camp on PUP list

Arizona Cardinals' Robert Nkemdiche warms up during an NFL football training camp Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A lot has been said about Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche since his arrival to the desert.

From his potential as a legit defensive lineman out of college to his off-the-field issues and on-the-field play, Nkemdiche has been on both sides of the spectrum, good and bad.

But a clean slate presents itself this season for Nkemdiche.

A new regime is in place, and while they know the defensive lineman’s past, it’s on him to show what he can bring in the future.

So far, it’s been less than ideal, giving his offseason woes and how he’s shown up for training camp — albeit coming off of an ACL tear in Week 14 last year.

“Not in shape, I guess? That’s kind of where we’ll leave it,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said when asked about Nkemdiche entering Day 2 of training camp Friday. “He’s on the PUP [list] and he’s working through that, and when he is cleared, we’ll work with him.”

It’s safe to say the Cardinals took a chance on Nkemdiche, who has the potential but brings with him added baggage. That baggage was evident in the 2016 NFL Draft, as Nkemdiche fell to No. 29, a spot many thought was too low given his ability.

The question then came, can he mature at the next level?

If the offseason was any indication, the answer remains to be seen.

Before Camp K even kicked off, Nkemdiche was already in the news for the wrong reasons.

Over a span of a week, he was pulled over twice by the Scottsdale Police Department, once for going 75-mph in a 45-mph zone. To make matters worse, Nkemdiche had a previous warrant for driving on a suspended license. He was then cited six days later for driving on a suspended license.

His play on the field has been less than expected as well.

Through three seasons with the team, Nkemdiche has played 27 games (six starts), recording 44 tackles, 10 of which were for losses, 4.5 sacks (all coming last season), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two passes defensed.

At 24 years old, Nkemdiche has the ability to right his NFL path before it’s too late.

It’s on him, however, to make that happen.


Kingsbury when asked about possible players coming off the PUP list soon:

“Still day-to-day on a lot of those guys, but I think that Brooks Reed is one that saw his name come up. I expect him back soon.”

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