Cardinals’ Dennis Gardeck ‘sticking to the plan’ as he gets back to 100%

Aug 23, 2021, 8:03 PM
Linebacker Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the Washington F...
Linebacker Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Washington Football Team 30-15. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE — Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck knew he was close to returning to the practice field, he just didn’t know when.

That was until Monday, when the linebacker donned his uniform for the first time since tearing his ACL in Week 15 of last season.

Gardeck could be seen rehabbing on the sideline throughout training camp, gaining a little more traction each and every day.

And just because he was activated off of the PUP list, that doesn’t mean Gardeck is being rushed back to into the fold.

Slow and steady wins the race for the linebacker, who isn’t looking too far ahead as he sticks to the plan put forth by trainers he trusts.

With that being said, it’s obviously an encouraging sign to be back on the field so soon after an injury of that magnitude.

“It was definitely a feel thing as far as my comfort with it,” Gardeck said Monday. “It was everything the trainers needed to see and they’re really good on being able to pick up on compensations and making sure that it looks good too.

“And then we had some hard numbers that we were able to put myself through some tests and make sure I wasn’t lying to myself or anything.”

While Gardeck has been a fan favorite pretty much since his arrival in 2018, the linebacker’s name was in the mouths of many thanks to a successful 2020 campaign.

Over the course of 94 defensive snaps (9%) last season, Gardeck recorded 7.0 sacks and 10 QB hits. His sack total trailed only Haason Reddick (12.5), who is now in Carolina.

After seeing the first defensive snaps of his career, Gardeck now sits behind Chandler Jones on the Cardinals’ depth chart.

Much like “Opus,” an EDM song Gardeck blasted in the locker room before his return that J.J. Watt claims took “like 12 minutes for the beat to drop,” the linebacker is being patient and seeing it pay off.

“It’s like a hike, the highest you climb, the more pretty the view is or whatever,” Gardeck said.

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