Shaq Riddick returns from injury, set on showing Cardinals what he can do

Aug 27, 2015, 5:32 PM | Updated: 6:22 pm
Linebacker Shaq Riddick runs across the field at Arizona Cardinals training camp, Wednesday, August...
Linebacker Shaq Riddick runs across the field at Arizona Cardinals training camp, Wednesday, August 26 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For linebacker Shaq Riddick, the last two days of training camp have been his best because he’s been on the field.

It’s that simple.

The rookie fifth-round pick out of West Virginia has missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury. It’s an issue he dealt with during mini-camp, too, and one that he’s hopeful is finally in the rearview mirror.

Of course, he did not go from zero to 60 in a few seconds.

“It’s a process,” he said Thursday. “The first day, I didn’t slam on the gas the first day. Today is my second day, I actually put more onto the gas pedal. It’s just a progression because hamstrings ain’t nothing to play with.”

The hope or even expectation is that the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Riddkick, who tallied 7.0 sacks last season in his lone year with the Mountaineers, will eventually emerge as one of the team’s better pass rushers. Prior to Thursday’s practice, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he was pleased with what he had seen from the 2015’s draft’s 158th overall pick, who stayed late after practice Wednesday to get some extra work in.

“He shows what we drafted — big, tall guy that can really run, come off the edge and he’s got some good strength at the point of attack, which it should be his forte because he was a down lineman, but it looks like he can handle the sight-lines of an outside linebacker,” Arians said. “Pretty bright guy.”

Assuming Riddick can stay healthy, the goal is to return to full strength as soon as possible. Though he was in all the meetings and took mental reps while he was out, nothing can replace the live action practice provides. So he’s admittedly behind, and he’s not sure if he’ll be able to make up all the ground he’s lost.

“I wouldn’t know that,” Riddick said. “I’m just going to go hard every day like I always do and just try to get better and work on my craft. Everything else is in somebody else’s hands.”

Riddick said if the coaches say he can play in Sunday’s preseason matchup with the Oakland Raiders, he will be on the field. Having missed so much time already, he’s tired of being on the sideline.

“Oh it’s terrible, it’s the worst thing ever,” he said. “You can’t practice; you feel like you’re on the outside of everything. It’s just not fun. You’ve got all the vets and all the older guys nagging on you because you ain’t playing, especially in my case because I was dealing with this in the spring, too.

“So I haven’t shown anybody anything for me to even be on this team or on this field with all these good players. The worst part about being hurt, to me, was not being able to show that I’m meant to be here.”

While it’s not good he was not able to show what he could do, Riddick said he’s not concerned. He believes everything happens for a reason. All he can do is go hard, he said, and leave the rest in God’s hands.

But Riddick also knows the team is anxious to see what he can bring to the defense. He can’t wait to show them, but at the same time, he wants to make sure he continues to stay healthy.

That means taking care of his body, stretching and doing all he can to avoid a setback. There are certain steps he needs to take throughout practice to ensure he’s ready to go when called upon. That was the mistake he made at first, he said, and is one he has no plans on repeating.

However, that’s not to say he doesn’t think about the possibility of re-injuring himself. He just doesn’t worry about it.

“It’s always going to be that thought in my head, but if I’m out there, I’m going to go,” he said. “You won’t see no half nothing on me. I’m going to go if I’m out there.”

Life Changer Loans
Offensive lineman Anthony Steen at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Offensive linemen Ted Larsen (62), A.Q. Shipley (53) and Bradley Sowell (79) at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Quarterback Carson Palmer follows through on a throw at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Head coach Bruce Arians and assistant head coach Tom Moore at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Quarterback Drew Stanton delivers a pass at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Defensive backs Chris Clemons (29), Tony Jefferson (22), Tyrann Mathieu (32), Rashad Johnson (26) and Patrick Peterson (21) take a breather at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Cornerback Justin Bethel at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Members of the offensive line get instruction at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Wide receiver Brittan Golden readies for the snap at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Tackle D.J. Humphries moves the pile at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Quarterback Drew Stanton surveys the defense at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports) Linemen Jonathan Cooper, A.Q. Shipley and Bradley Sowell chat at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald watch at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) QB Carson Palmer gestures to WR John Brown at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) The offense huddles at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Receivers J.J. Nelson and Brittan Golden wait at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) CB Patrick Peterson takes a break at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Safety Deone Bucannon reaches for the ball at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Linebacker Alex Okafor applies pressure as QB Phillip Sims drops back to pass at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Guard Ted Larsen blocks Alameda Ta'amu at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Receiver Jaxon Shipley barely makes a catch at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Receiver J.J. Nelson makes a catch at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Receiver Brittan Golden makes a catch at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Receivers John Brown and J.J. Nelson line up at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Head coach Bruce Arians cracks a smile at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Tight end Jermaine Gresham makes a catch at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Tight ends Gerald Christian, Jermaine Gresham and Ifeanyi Momah at Arizona Cardinals training camp Thursday, August 27, 2015 in Glendale. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

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