D.J. Humphries instills ‘big brother love’ in Cardinals’ young OL room

May 22, 2023, 5:45 PM

Arizona Cardinals D.J. Humphries...

DJ Humphries #74 of the Arizona Cardinals pumps up his teammates prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Voluntary organized team activities began on Monday in Tempe for the Arizona Cardinals.

Among those working on the sidelines with other players coming off injuries was franchise left tackle D.J. Humphries, who looked a little slimmer than his listed 307-pound frame.

That’s because Humphries, who will be going into his ninth year with the Cardinals after being selected in the first round in 2015, had to lose some weight in case he needed surgery on a back injury that caused him to miss nine games last season and put him on injured reserve in late November.

Luckily for the Cardinals and Co., surgery was not required and Humphries is almost done with the rehab process with just a little bit left to go.

As for gaining the weight back, the son of a wide receiver and nephew of a defensive back knows he has some work to do before the 2023 season kicks off.

“I have to work year-round to be 300-plus, it’s so hard for me. … I’m the biggest person in my family,” he told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Monday.

Humphries will turn 30 years old during the season in December, and the 6-foot-5 tackle has fully embraced the role of being a veteran when it comes to mentoring the younger newcomers like 2023 No. 6 overall pick OL Paris Johnson Jr.

The nine-year veteran wants to establish a culture in the offensive linemen room that embraces rookies drafted in the first round rather than guys feeling threatened about their job security, which is something Humphries experienced when he first got to Arizona.

“Where I come in is getting the room to understand the dynamics of the NFL, getting the young players to understand that these other young guys coming in, you don’t need to look at them as a threat, we’re playing football,” he said. “You need to focus on being the best version of yourself so you can focus on what you need to do when evaluation time comes around. That’s the mentality I’m trying to shift to them.

“It wasn’t that they didn’t want me there, it was just the reality of the situation,” Humphries added. “I was a first-round tackle that’s entered in the room now, there’s tackles that’ve been here. They know the math that I don’t understand yet (of only so many tackles will make the roster). I never wanted guys to come into our room and feel that. I always wanted guys to come into the room a feel the big brother love like, ‘Hey, come here. Let me show you how to do this.'”

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