Cardinals TE Gresham: I owe it to organization to be better

Mar 17, 2016, 2:56 PM | Updated: Mar 18, 2016, 5:22 pm
Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) is hit by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker N...
Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) is hit by San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Jermaine Gresham, Cardinals tight end

No one would have been surprised had Jermaine Gresham chosen to leave Arizona for another team.

A former Pro Bowler, the tight end caught just 18 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown last season. His 32 targets in the passing game ranked fifth on the team, and him leaving for a larger role with another team almost made sense.

Yet Gresham chose to return to Arizona, and even reportedly took less money to do so.


Well, the Cardinals reached the NFC Championship Game last season and being on a team of that caliber was a draw for the 27-year-old.

“That as part of it,” he told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “Just discussing thing with my family and things like that, and we have a plan with it. This was the first step of many so that it was most definitely me being happiest in Arizona.”

Gresham is not the only member of last year’s Cardinals to return to the team. In the last week or so the team has reached agreements to bring back running back Chris Johnson and defensive tackle Red Bryant. Johnson, like Gresham, took less money to remain in Arizona.

The former Cincinnati Bengal said the culture within the organization is a big draw.

“Oh my gosh, it’s night and day,” he said when comparing it to other teams. “Just playing for [Bruce Arians] and just this organization, how they treat their players and just how they take care of them, and B.A.’s the type of guy that lets you go out there and play free, just be yourself. You can’t find that everywhere and that’s hard to find, and that was one of the biggest factors in the decision.”

As for his role with the team next season, Gresham said he’s not sure what the team has in mind for him but knows he would like to do more and wants to be better. He posted career lows in receptions, yards and touchdowns last year, but is confident an entire healthy offseason with the team will lead to an improved 2016.

When he signed last summer, Gresham was recovering from back surgery that limited him in training camp.

“It was tough, not being able to do as much as you could — you want to help the team — and just trying to play catch-up,” he said. “I feel like I kind of owe it to the organization to be a better player this year and, and the fans, and that’s my mind-set.

“And just come back better, stronger, faster, and just do my part.”

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