TEMPE, Ariz. -- As the news of Michael Floyd’s release settled in throughout the Arizona Cardinals locker room Wednesday afternoon, the mood was somber.
“I think we’re all shocked,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “We’re all in kind of disbelief. We got three more games to play so we’ve got to stay focused.”
Other players sat at their lockers after practicing trying to digest the news.
Floyd was cut two days after he was arrested early Monday morning on charges that included DUI and disobeying a police officer. He was found asleep behind the wheel of his running SUV at an intersection in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Hours after it was announced, Floyd's teammates had not come to grasps with the franchise’s decision, which team president Michael Bidwill called “a statement.” Some players were dealing with losing more than just a teammate.
“It’s a tough day,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “Mike’s a close friend of mine, offseason golfing buddy, workout partner, so it’s tough. I believe in Mike. I hope for nothing but the best for Mike, and look forward to seeing what he does with the next opportunity he gets.”
A common refrain Wednesday was how well-liked Floyd was around the locker room.
“You lose a friend, and Mike is one of those guys that everyone in the locker room loved,” Palmer said. “Always had a smile on his face and a great energy about him. He’s taken drastic steps in his leadership role.
“Aside from the football and statistics and catches and all those things, he was a leader, and there are some shoes to fill there for us on offense.”
Palmer was asked how Floyd reacted when he was released. “I don’t know if anybody has ever not been surprised when they’ve been released,” Palmer said. “I think it’s a tough reality to deal with, especially when it’s the first time you get released. It’s especially tough, I’m sure.”
Coach Bruce Arians declined to discuss how he handles the business side of sports, which includes releasing players. “I really don’t want to talk about it,” Arians said.
Mathieu said he spoke with Floyd on Wednesday. The Honey Badger didn’t get into details of their conversation but shared his own thoughts on how Floyd should handle his situation.
“I think the most important thing is for him to believe in himself,” Mathieu said. “Everybody is going to have something to say. Everybody is going to try to criticize you. Everybody thinks they know what you’re going through. I think the most important thing is for him to believe in himself. I really do hope somebody gives him another chance.”
Mathieu added: “I think we all make mistakes. Sometimes we’re under the spotlight, you’re under a microscope. Obviously, I wish him the best. He’s like a brother to me. If he ever needs anything, I’m sure he can reach out to me. I’m sure he can reach out to a bunch of guys in this locker room.”