ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ 2nd round of OTAs brings somber reality of Jeff Gladney’s death

Jun 1, 2022, 5:30 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2022, 11:03 am

TEMPE — For most NFL teams, organized team activities give organizations a head start of getting back to work for the upcoming season and players the opportunity to be among one another.

That before-the-real-work-starts feeling of good vibes is present over the few days together. The camaraderie can be felt from the sidelines.

But for the Arizona Cardinals, their most recent OTAs session that kicked off Wednesday brought with it the somber reminder of the passing of cornerback Jeff Gladney, who died Monday morning in a car accident that also killed his girlfriend Mercedes Palacios. Both were under the age of 27.

“We all are devastated, it’s been a tough couple of days,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. “Just a really tragic situation, two young people like that. Our hearts and prayers go out to Jeff’s and Mercedes’ families.

“I think it’s good to be around each other. The team, seeing them yesterday and today that always helps but it’s been some tough days.”

Typically, teams are left to deal with things like injury flare ups or offseason chatter this time of year. Very rarely it’s something of this magnitude.

With that in mind, Kingsbury, who had known Gladney during his time at Texas Tech, made sure to talk with the team as a whole before breaking off into position groups. It provided those with the opportunity to talk openly about the situation and how they were feeling.

“It’s hard to handle but I think it definitely gives all our players a perspective of just how precious life is,” Kingsbury said. “I know a lot of guys want to make sure they live it the right way because you never know.”

Gladney’s death hit the defensive backs room especially hard.

“Those guys were moved by it,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. “He was a great guy, he was working, he was trying to get back on track. He smiled every day. He was going to help us obviously. But this issue is not football. It’s family, it’s person, it’s very sad.

“He’s been here the last two and a half months. We’ve known the kid since he came out for the draft,” Joseph added. “Again, these players are really close from high school to college to different recruiting trips, different agents. Players are really close in this league. Everyone’s feeling it. … It’s been two players in the last two months, same age, something’s got to change.”

The healing from Gladney’s sudden death isn’t stopping on the practice field or once this session of OTAs come to close, either.

As a team, the Cardinals are holding a gathering in honor of the cornerback and spend time with one another.

“I think that’s important to show your love ones how much you love them, tell them every day that you love them, spend the time with everyone because you just never know with life how it’s going to pan out,” wide receiver Rondale Moore said.

“My heart goes out to him and I think today we’re just spending the day just showing each other how much we do love each other and just kind of be around each other and be there for one another.”

EXTRA POINT

– Kingsbury on what it means to have a good majority of veterans back in the mix for this round of OTAs during this time:

“I think having those types of veteran presences around at a time like this is definitely huge. All those guys are great leaders. The (Justin Pughs) and the (Kelvin Beachums) and the (D.J. Humphries), (Kyler Murray) that have been a part of this.

“It helped getting back into normalcy some but definitely any time you can get around those guys I think the younger players kind of gravitate towards them and probably feel better about the whole situation.”

Presented By
Western Governors University

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals D.J. Humphries...

Vincent DeAngelis

Cardinals’ OT D.J. Humphries talks Marvin Harrison Jr., recovery from torn ACL

Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries expressed that he thinks Marvin Harrison Jr. is too easy to miss in the 2024 NFL Draft.

15 hours ago

Malik Nabers speaks with reporters at 2024 NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals add Malik Nabers, not Marvin Harrison Jr., in Lance Zierlein’s latest mock draft

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein zigged instead of zagged on Monday, mock-drafting Malik Nabers, not Marvin Harrison Jr., to the Cardinals at No. 4.

16 hours ago

Jacob Cowing runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Projecting where Arizona Cardinals could draft NFL Combine standouts

A look at some of the combine standouts who could fill a Cardinals' need and how they could realistically find their way to Arizona:

19 hours ago

Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, Mar...

Tom Kuebel

Cardinals could trade up to pick OL prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft

After an impressive showing by the offensive lineman at the 2024 NFL Draft Combine, the Cardinals might have to trade up from pick No. 27 to get a top prospect.

2 days ago

Rome Odunze...

Alex Weiner

How did Rome Odunze measure at NFL Draft Combine after meeting with Cardinals?

Before taking the field to run the 40-yard dash, Rome Odunze met with several teams sitting atop the draft, including the Cardinals.

2 days ago

Olumuyiwa Fashanu...

Jesse Morrison

NFL Draft OL prospect Olu Fashanu had ‘smooth meeting’ with Cardinals, Jonathan Gannon

One of the top prospects in the NFL draft, offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu seemed interested in the Cardinals at the NFL combine.

3 days ago

Cardinals’ 2nd round of OTAs brings somber reality of Jeff Gladney’s death