Kevin Minter appreciates adversity, Cardinals assistant Larry Foote

Oct 14, 2015, 4:19 PM
New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker K...
New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) is hit by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Kevin Minter (51) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Kevin Minter, Cardinals linebacker

Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter can look back at 2014 with fond memories, even if the 2013 second-round pick struggled because of a torn pectoral muscle and heard the murmurs about whether he was a bust.

Minter grew up in his second NFL season, and his credit for doing so goes to former Cardinals linebacker and current inside linebackers assistant coach Larry Foote.

“Being behind a guy like Foote, a guy like that, he can’t help but teach you,” Minter said Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7’s Burns and Gambo show. “He taught me how to be professional and how to play this game. I really appreciate the whole year.”

Minter’s 2014 began with a pectoral muscle tear that required him to wear a protective harness and cut into his production.

“A lot of it is just me shedding blocks,” Minter said. “You don’t realize how hard it is to do if you had just one pec. Being out of the harness, it’s night and day.”

Minter played through it all, recording 44 tackles and a sack.

The inside linebacker entered 2015 with uncertainty. Arizona head coach Bruce Arians knew Minter would be valuable as a “thumper,” a vital piece to stop the run. But Minter came into camp lighter and accepting that he needed to change his game to earn more playing time.

Minter has already recorded 30 tackles through the Cardinals’ first five games.

Maybe it took longer than expected for a high draft pick, but Minter’s effectiveness is changing the narrative.

“Being a high pick like that, it happens,” Minter said. “But it’s like I said, a guy like (Foote), I learned a lot from him and I feel like the reasons where I’m at now is being behind him and (former Cardinals linebacker) Karlos (Dansby).”

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Kevin Minter appreciates adversity, Cardinals assistant Larry Foote