Navy SEAL prepares Cards for bye week

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When a Navy SEAL talks, the Arizona Cardinals listen.

Clint Bruce, a former member of SEAL Team 5, addressed the Cardinals before Wednesday’s practice, their last of the bye week. With four days off, the Cardinals are scattering around the country for a little rest and relaxation, but Bruce’s message about resting or reloading made the team think about how it’ll spend the time off.

“Hopefully we reload, come back Monday for a great practice and don’t be ‘the guy,’” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Too many times when a guy gets a day off, he gets tazed in Miami, South Beach or something.

“We don’t want any of that stuff. We don’t need any distractions. That was the message.”

Bruce couldn’t share a lot of stories, nose tackle Dan Williams said, because of their sensitivity but Bruce was able to relate preparing for combat to preparing for a football game. He would know. Bruce was a Midshipmen linebacker from 1993-96 and after graduating from the Naval Academy, he joined the SEALs.

Bruce’s football experience helped keep the Cardinals engaged. It was more effective, tight end Rob Housler said, because Bruce was speaking to the team instead of at the group.

Despite the evident differences between football and war, Bruce explained how preparing himself for both was comparable.

“You worry about an injury every now and then, he makes one mistake and he can lose his life,” Williams said. “It was definitely eye-opening and [I’m] very thankful to have a chance [for him] to share his experience with us.”

Bruce’s “resting or reloading” mentality hit home for the Cardinals, who are 4-4 and still in contention for a wild-card berth.

Football will still be on cornerback Patrick Peterson’s mind as he hits the links and passes out Halloween candy this week. He’ll spend plenty of time reviewing notes, his playbook and film of the Cardinals and their next opponent, the Houston Texans.

If it was up to Peterson, the bye week would come after Week 17. But his injured teammates, such as wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back Rashard Mendenhall, would argue otherwise.

Arians said coming midway through the season is the perfect time for the bye. It was also the ideal situation for his team to hear about how men fighting the most covert operations this country orders may not always want to do what’s expected out of them, but they still do it.

The next time Arizona takes the practice field will be Monday and Arians hopes to see his players not just rested but reloaded, as well.

“Honestly, I think before they spoke to us today, a lot of guys knew we get a few days off but when we come back Monday, it’s right back to business,” Williams said. “I think everybody was getting ready to reload because we knew we can make a good run during these last eight games.

"When he came to speak to us, he kind of reiterated that to everybody. It was definitely right on time.”