Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury ‘disappointed’ for GM Steve Keim: ‘It’s not easy’
Dec 16, 2022, 6:23 PM
(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
TEMPE –The Arizona Cardinals season took yet another turn on Wednesday when a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport surfaced regarding GM Steve Keim taking a health-related leave of absence away from the team.
While seemingly abrupt, Rapoport added the following day the move had been developing over the course of “several weeks and several months.”
Speaking for the first time since Keim’s leave of absence was confirmed by the team, head coach Kliff Kingsbury — who along with the GM signed contract extensions this offseason that run through 2027 — reiterated his support for Keim on Friday.
“I have a great appreciation for Steve and always will,” Kingsbury said. “(Adrian Wilson) and (Quentin Harris), it’s been the same. We’ve had a great relationship since they’ve been here and we all want to do what’s best for this organization. It’ll be good communication moving forward with us three.”
“Disappointed for him, just knowing the appreciation I have for him and him giving me this opportunity and the love and respect that I’ll always have for him, it’s not easy,” the head coach added.
As Kingsbury mentioned, Keim’s duties while he is out are being handled in an interim basis by VP of player personnel Quentin Harris and VP of pro personnel Adrian Wilson.
The end date of the duo’s extended roles? That’s unclear, especially with Rapoport reporting Thursday that Keim’s time as the Cardinals GM is “in doubt” and “up in the air.”
“I have no reaction,” Vance Joseph, who was the first Cardinals coach to speak to reporters on Keim, said Thursday. “There’s been a statement out by our team and that’s everybody’s reaction to it. Obviously, Steve’s a friend of mine and I feel for Steve and I wish him luck.”
Keim’s leave of absence came on the same day ousted run game coordinator and OL coach Sean Kugler filed a request for arbitration due to his firing over allegedly groping a woman in Mexico City. The former Cardinals coach said he was fired without a proper investigation and was never interviewed by the team. Specifically, Kugler adds the firing was as a result of a “miscommunication” or because of “mistaken identity.”
Keim has been a part of the Cardinals organization since 1999, working his way up from a scout to GM. He also served as the team’s director of college scouting from 2006-07, director of player personnel from 2008-11 and was VP of player personnel in 2012 before earning the role of general manager in 2013.