Cards notebook: Return to Arizona a ‘wonderful surprise’ for Corey Peters

Aug 4, 2021, 12:55 PM
Corey Peters (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)...
Corey Peters (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

GLENDALE — Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters watched his season come to an end after just nine games thanks to a patellar tendon injury in 2020.

Not only did Peters have to begin the arduous road back to full strength this offseason, he also battled the unknown of being an unrestricted free agent, not knowing where he would hang his hat in 2021.

That was until this week, when the defensive tackle paid a visit to the Cardinals, eventually working out and signing a one-year deal to return to the desert on Tuesday.

“Honestly, I didn’t really expect [to be back],” Peters said after training camp on Wednesday. “This is what I was hoping for, obviously living here and having experience with the coaching staff last year and in previous years. I’m really excited to be back, it’s just a wonderful surprise to me.”

While injury concerns and age (32) might have shied some teams away, Peters still received calls from many as six teams this offseason before locking in with Arizona, he said.

It only helped his confidence as he worked to get back to playing form. He knew he could play somewhere, but wasn’t quite sure where.

That’s not to say it was a difficult process, however, as Peters had to undergo a monotonous offseason workload. Still, the tackle feels he is in a better place having gone through it.

“I would say physically I am 100% as far as being able to do what I need to do,” Peters said. “It’s just a matter of conditioning, getting back into football shape, the intensity that training camp brings. Just trying to be smart about that. But as far as running, lifting and all those types of things, I’m cleared to do everything.”

As for what’s next for Peters, he plans to get out on the field with his team sometime this week. He was seen Monday doing some stretching and light running on the side as the Cardinals begin ramping him up for his return.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury expects Peters to fit in just fine given his resume.

“From the workout he moved really well,” the head coach said. “I think first and foremost we’ll see how he’s feeling, ease him into it. He knows our playbook, we know what he’s about as a player and as a person.

“We’re excited about our young guys right now and the fact that they’re getting a ton of reps [with guys sidelined], Corey easing his way back in we think will be a positive in the long run.”

Kliff Kingsbury not overly concerned with wide receiver absences

Whether it be due to injury or the COVID list, the Cardinals have yet to have their wide receiver room at full strength this training camp.

The trend continued Wednesday, with A.J. Green the latest wideout to miss time. He was joined by teammate Christian Kirk, who missed his third straight practice with a “minor deal.”

“Minor issue, expect him back sooner than later. Not sure if it will be this week,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Green.

Frustration levels remain relatively low for the head coach despite the continued absences.

In fact, Kingsbury is taking a glass half-full approach to the whole situation.

“I actually like it because for quarterbacks, it makes you step your game up,” Kingsbury said. “You gotta find ways to get it done when you don’t have an A.J. Green or Christian Kirk out there, so I think it makes it harder for those guys and makes them progress through their reads.

“That’s what you want in training camp. Week 1 you want everybody rocking, but training camp it’s good to have some days where everybody’s got to work and young guys gotta step up.”

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Cards notebook: Return to Arizona a ‘wonderful surprise’ for Corey Peters