Cardinals OL D.J. Humphries closer with QB Kyler Murray through injury

Jun 8, 2023, 10:11 AM

(L-R) D.J. Humphries #74 and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals run onto the field before the...

(L-R) D.J. Humphries #74 and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals run onto the field before the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman D.J. Humphries made eight starts last season before a lingering back injury eventually knocked him out for the season.

After three years of at least 16 games played prior to 2022, the lineman was now stuck with a tough uphill climb of rehabbing from a season-ending injury and the unknown of whether or not surgery would be needed.

Instead of getting swallowed up in the what ifs, though, Humphries focused on what he could do to get back to full strength.

Back injuries are nothing to mess around with, but after going through an MCL issue and dislocated knee in 2018, Humphries knew he couldn’t sit around and get complacent.

“I know what it’s like when those injuries get dark and you start going down those mental rabbit holes of what it could be, the possibilities,” the lineman said Wednesday. “I just forced myself into the rehab and honed into everything I needed to do, because it helped me stay positive.

“When you do that you start progressing, you start feeling better. So, it’s easier to lean on that instead of sitting in the darkness for a month before you start rehabbing.”

His early determination paid off, with Humphries avoiding surgery altogether — something he found out about 12 weeks ago — as evident in his return to voluntary organized team activities this week.

He’ll look to pick up where he left off with a slightly new cast in the trenches that includes rookies Paris Johnson and Jon Gaines, Elijah Wilkinson and Hjalte Froholdt in addition to returning veterans Kelvin Beachum, Will Hernandez and Josh Jones.

And while the lineman didn’t have to learn how to bounce back from an injury like his, he did learn something new about his starting quarterback.

With Kyler Murray on the mend from his own season-ending injury (torn ACL), the signal caller spent a lot of time rehabbing alongside his left tackle in Arizona this offseason. It gave the lineman more insight behind the mind of this QB.

“I feel like I’ve gotten to know him more this offseason just being around him and seeing him attack this rehab, it’s been impressive,” Humphries said. “Being in the building and watching him grind this offseason has been fun to see. You get to see something different from your guy.”

“He’s a lot funnier than he puts off,” the lineman added with a smile. “It’s been cool to be around him and kind of see how he is. It’s funny. I was a Kyler Murray fan before. I’m a big Kyler Murray fan now, though, for sure.”

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