The 5: Best quotes from now-richer Cardinals OT D.J. Humphries
TEMPE, Ariz. — D.J. Humphries will have a good week.
On Tuesday, he officially inked a three-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals that’s reportedly worth up to $45 million. He’s heading off to get married close to home in North Carolina later this week.
When Humphries met with reporters in between two pretty significant life achievements, he ended up trying to power rank the events — the births of his two children got one and two, for the record.
Still, Humphries has a lot more to accomplish after he’s married and goes off to honeymoon at an undisclosed location.
He wants to win a ring for teammates Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson, for one thing. The left tackle also wants to continue proving doubters wrong after he overcame a rookie benching and two season-ending knee injuries to become one of the most well-paid NFL players at his position.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Humphries dished on his past, his future and his team. Here are some of the best quotes from the media gathering, edited for brevity and clarity.
Humphries was asked when he knew he would re-sign with the Cardinals, and his answer showed that he can bring the humor and the humble honesty in one breath.
“Probably going into the 2018 season — yeah, before last year — that was like, I knew,” he said. “I had bought a suit … ‘I’m going to wear that when I sign.’ (Senior VP of media relations Mark Dalton) told me (before Tuesday), ‘Don’t wear a suit, man. Get you a nice polo.’ I was like, ‘Damn, Mark. I had this suit for two years, bro, what are you doing?’
“One thing: I’m blessed to have a great father. One thing my dad taught me early is, sometimes people don’t see what you see. And it’s not their fault. They don’t understand your vision, they’re not supposed to. They’re not in your brain … you just have to weather the storm a lot of times and you’ve got to go through things.”
Humphries explained that he planned for this Tuesday within the context of believing in himself despite the setbacks, injuries and naysayers. He achieved the goal of making it past his rookie deal when, even heading into 2019, some doubted whether he could stay healthy and perform.
As for that planned outfit that wasn’t meant to be, it included a plaid blazer that is Cardinal red, black and white, complete with a “form-fitting” turtle neck, jeans and Balenciaga sneakers.
Deciding to team with the Cardinals for the next three years was a two-way street. Humphries wasn’t just saying the right things when, at the end of last season, he wished for a return.
He meant it.
“I feel like the pieces we need in that building is here,” the tackle said. “If you look at the head of all the position groups, we have (safety) Budda Baker and (outside linebacker) Chandler Jones in the Pro Bowl. (Inside linebacker) Jordan Hicks, was he top-three in tackles in the NFL? I genuinely feel like a lot of people missed recognition.
“The optimism, you can’t see from the outside in. When you play football and you’ve been around, you’ve been part of bad teams, you can see guys being professionals, not looking at the scoreboard, not worrying about a record. Like, ‘This week we’re getting better.’ When you get a roomful of grown men doing it, the sky’s the limit. I feel like that’s the energy we have in the building.”
Humphries went on to praise head coach Kliff Kingsbury for his honesty and humbleness, and he also shouted out quarterback Kyler Murray, the O-line and the entire running back room with sights set on improving in 2020.
Former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians referred to Humphries as “Knee Deep” when he failed to appear as a rookie first-round pick.
The label could be seen as a growing-up moment for Humphries, but the tackle has since shaken that narrative.
For one, he didn’t and still doesn’t like the nickname. He didn’t think it was right for Arians to go public about a player not seeing time on the field.
So what point did mark a change for Humphries, who has admitted he wasn’t the most mature guy when he arrived in the NFL? He said it was when he had his first child.
“Most people that know me, and even myself, attribute it to my children,” he said. “Had my son my rookie year. I don’t know what it is … people who have kids understand what it is. That moment happened for me and everything kind of started to make sense. Priorities made sense because it wasn’t about how I felt and what I felt I needed … it was more about things that I had to do.”
“I remember sitting down with my fiance and saying, ‘We want more money,'” Humphries recalled. “I can’t believe we told them I want more money … like, that was a lot of money. But it’s business. Understanding that part of it … it was mind-blowing.
“I haven’t even had a steak with the new money yet.”
That was Humphries admitting that the negotiating process over his extension felt a little too business-like, a little out of his wheelhouse. He admitted that much when reminded that he will be up for another contract before he even hits 30 years old.
The offensive tackle also said he learned from Fitzgerald and Peterson, two of the richest players in the locker room, who he says never speak a word about dollar figures when it comes to their games.
How much room does Humphries have to grow?
The Cardinals’ run game excelled in 2019. The pass-protection was underrated. Arguably, the Arizona offensive line as a whole gets more credit simply for staying healthy than it does for producing.
That analysis is for another day. Humphries only allowed two sacks and one QB hit in 677 pass-protection snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He thinks that he has more room to prove he’s a top-flight tackle.
“My fiance gets so upset with me, because when I started playing, I was like, I want to play 10 years and anything else after that (is a plus),” he said. “I was talking to her the other day, I was like, ‘I feel like I just started my career.’ And she’s like, ‘You feel like you just started what?’ I genuinely just feel like I figured out how to do it the right way.
“I feel the same way I felt two years ago. Like, these people have no idea. I just came from the gym,” Humphries added. “Next 36 months, maximize this.”