Budda Baker expected to be back with Cardinals ‘when it’s time to be there’
May 26, 2023, 5:17 PM
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker has finally spoken.
In a snippet of an interview with 12Sports’ Cam Cox, the safety said he’ll be back among the organization “when it’s time to be there.”
“When it’s time to be there, I’ll be there smiling, same regular guy that I am,” he told Cox. “Just excited to see those guys again.
“For me personally, I’m just letting the business aspect handle the business aspect,” the safety added. “Letting my agent handle all that type of stuff.”
Baker later on in the interview specified he was excited to get going at training camp.
That’s not the only mandatory work on the docket, however.
The first key date to watch is less than a month away on June 13, when Arizona takes the practice fields at its training facility for mandatory minicamp.
Then comes training camp a month later.
The news of Baker’s planned return comes after he was among the no-shows for Arizona’s voluntary organized team activities last week.
And while he is not expected to attend the next two waves, the safety will still get the work in on his own time.
“Just continuing to have tunnel vision on my work ethic and being the best person I can be outside of football as well and just enjoying life, enjoying this offseason, enjoying working hard each and every day and just excited to go back and play football again,” Baker said.
It was the latest chapter in an offseason that saw multiple reports come out saying Baker had requested a trade from the organization as far back as February unless he received a new contract that would make him the highest paid safety in the game.
Shortly after those reports surfaced, Baker posted to Twitter expressing his love for Cardinals fans.
Love you cardinal fans!!!
— Budda Baker (@Buddabaker3) April 14, 2023
A day before that post, the safety removed “AZ” from his Twitter bio and posted an Instagram story citing “proper training” after the Cardinals received poor grades for their weight room from players this offseason in an NFLPA poll.
He didn’t stop there, either, posting a Michael Jordan meme to Twitter that said “that’s all I needed for him to do that and it became personal for me,” depicting a potential rift with the team.
“I think Budda will show up when he wants to show up,” first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon told reporters during OTAs on Monday. “He’s been awesome.
“He kind of wears us out a little bit with the tape and different things like that. But he’s working and he’ll get himself ready to play.”
“I think Budda will show up when he wants to show up,” – #AZCardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon on safety Budda Baker. pic.twitter.com/pHiHNCIxK5
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) May 22, 2023
Despite missing two games due to a sprained ankle, Baker led Arizona in combined tackles with 111 and was one of three players with multiple interceptions last season.
Baker signed a four-year, $59 million contract extension on his rookie deal with the Cardinals in 2020 and is owed over $27 million over the next two seasons.
The two-time First Team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler has appeared in 93 games as a Cardinal, racking up 650 tackles, seven interceptions, five fumble recoveries, 32 tackles for loss and 15 QB hits.