GLENDALE — The focus this time of year should be on training camp and the storylines from the football field that come with it.
Instead, the Arizona Cardinals have waded in the waters of off-the-field distractions for a good part of camp, especially this past week.
During a time when clichés about a player’s growth or straight-up Xs and Os should be the talking points, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been stuck fielding off-the-field issues.
“It’s early in camp. I’m hoping we can get back to really focusing on football and trying to become the best team that we can be, and it’s never something you want to stand up here and answer every day it seems like but that’s how it’s played out,” Kingsbury said Friday. “Moving forward, we got to be better as an organization handling our business. There’s no question.”
It all started with the discovery and eventual removal last Thursday of the infamous study clause in quarterback Kyler Murray’s contract extension. Then came the signal caller’s positive COVID-19 test this past Monday.
Two days later, offseason acquisition Hollywood Brown was arrested for excessive speeding before Thursday’s unearthing of running backs coach James Saxon’s domestic violence charges stemming from May. The discovery led to the Cardinals placing Saxon on administrative leave on Friday.
And in a world where it seems like something new is coming down the pipeline on a daily basis, Arizona is relying on its leaders to keep the focus on the task at hand.
“You never want to have distractions when you’re trying to build a team and build camaraderie and be the best versions of yourselves,” Kingsbury said. “But we’ve definitely had that.
“Luckily, we have some great leaders and guys that can compartmentalize things and continue to work to get better. But you’d like the focus to be on football moving forward and hopefully that’s the case.”