Arizona Cardinals’ Rodney Gunter notches sack, safety in first preseason game

Aug 15, 2015, 11:33 PM | Updated: Aug 16, 2015, 12:47 am
Arizona Cardinals' Rodney Gunter (95) works out during an NFL football training camp, Wednesday, Au...

Arizona Cardinals' Rodney Gunter (95) works out during an NFL football training camp, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The legend of Rodney Gunter seemed to be growing at an impossible-to-sustain rate shortly after he was taken in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

An incredible physical specimen at 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds with quickness and strength, the talk was how if he had gone anywhere but Delaware State, Gunter would have been taken much higher in the draft.

Of course, none of that talk would have mattered much if the 23-year-old didn’t produce in real games against NFL players. Struggles there and, well, the hype train would have slowed down — if not come to a stop altogether.

One preseason game into his career and the train is not only chugging ahead, but picking up steam.

Gunter was credited with two tackles, one of which was a sack. And it was not your regular sack. No, Gunter burst through the offensive line virtually untouched and just demolished Kansas City quarterback Aaron Murray in the end zone for a safety.

It led one media member to proclaim — in words that cannot be written here — how divine it was. Head coach Bruce Arians also enjoyed the play.

“King blew the gap just like he was supposed to and made a real nice play,” Arians said, using Gunter’s nickname. “That’s what he’s capable of doing.”

Exciting?

As far as career milestones go, everyone knows this one will not be counted in any record books. Still, for Gunter, his first taste of NFL game action in Arizona’s 34-19 loss was a rather pleasant experience.

“It felt great man,” he said. “My first NFL preseason game, it felt great, man. I got a few more to go, man. I’m ready to improve on.”

As for the play where he got the sack, Gunter said he got off the ball fast, shot the gap, saw the quarterback and just speared him. He said it felt great because you don’t get too many open lanes at the quarterback. But while the scenario may have been unexpected, Gunter said he anticipated getting his first sack.

“I wanted it, I wanted it bad,” he said, before adding it was everything he thought it would be.

Calais Campbell, who has amassed 43.5 sacks in his seven-year career, knows what it’s like to bring down an opposing quarterback. Watching Gunter do it for the first time is something he very much enjoyed.

“I was very hyped for him,” Campbell said. “He’s been working very hard. He exploded off the ball very fast and he tackled him with tenacity.

“I was very excited for him, especially being a safety, he’s getting points on the board. Definitely very excited for him.”

The hope is it’s just a start for Gunter. The rookie said the speed of the game was something he had to adjust to, and after a while he was able to get into a bit of a groove. As a rookie he said he knew it would take some time, but once he figured it out, he was able to just play his game.

Where he goes from here, we’ll just have to see. But for a player who has had some big time expectations placed upon him, Saturday’s effort was a sign that there could be something to them. That’s of little concern to Gunter, however.

“I’m here just trying to contribute to the team, that’s all,” he said.

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs' Chase Daniel (10) throws a touchdown pass as Arizona Cardinals' Josh Mauro (73) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams (83) smiles as he celebrates his touchdown catch from quarterback Chase Daniel (10) against the against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Fred Williams (83) makes a touchdown catch in front of Arizona Cardinals' Gabe Martin, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals' Cariel Brooks (35) tips the ball away on a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs' Da'Ron Brown (4) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals' Logan Thomas, left, twists out of the grasp of Kansas City Chiefs' Dee Ford, right, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians watches play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs' Chase Daniel throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Frankie Hammond, right, celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals with teammate Jason Avant, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs' Frankie Hammond (85) makes a touchdown catch as Arizona Cardinals' Jimmy Legree (46) falls down while trying to cover Hammond on the play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) lies on the turf as Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Ramik Wilson (53) runs back an interception during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel (10) throws under pressure from the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Da'Ron Brown is tackled by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Gabe Martin during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Da'Ron Brown celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws under pressure from Arizona Cardinals linebacker LaMarr Woodley (52) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry lines up against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Line judge Sarah Thomas gestures during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Line judge Sarah Thomas waits for play to resume during the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin makes a catch as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) carries as Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) looks to throw against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Kenny Demens (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) hits Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) as Steven Nelson (20) and Eric Berry (29) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) runs the football against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson (14) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jamell Fleming during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talks with line judge Sarah Thomas during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) hands off to running back Knile Davis (34) against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32), celebrates his interception with teammates Calais Campbell (93) and Rashad Johnson (26) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) is tripped up by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) after intercepting a pass by Smith during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer warms up prior to the team's NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, right, and Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians chat before an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald warms up for the team's NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals training camp assistant linebackers coach Jen Welter, middle, talks with line judge Sarah Thomas, right, as Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill, left, listens prior to an NFL preseason football game between the Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) lunges into the end zone for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) celebrate his touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) kisses his mother, Carol Berry, prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer warms up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) is greeted by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) prior to an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith warms up for the Chiefs' NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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