GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was a newsworthy training camp.
With camp ending Friday, it’s time to reflect on the top five storylines of the Arizona Cardinals' training camp. Camp started with a few major news items and the headlines were consistently flowing as camp progressed.
Here’s a look at the top 5:
1. Darnell Dockett tearing his ACL – For a guy who’s missed just two games in his career, suffering a season-ending ACL tear was devastating. For a team that was on the verge of the playoffs thanks in large part to the top run defense in the NFL, anchored by Dockett, it was even worse news. But even though Dockett is 33 years old, he was the heart and soul of not just the defense but the entire locker room. He’ll still be around the team to lend his leadership and emotional support, but for the first time in 10 years, Dockett won’t be on the field for the Cardinals.
2. Patrick Peterson signing extension – One of the offseason’s hottest stories was the debate about who’s the better cornerback: Peterson or Richard Sherman. During the first week of camp, Peterson became the better paid cornerback, signing a five-year extension worth $70 million, including $48 million guaranteed. The extension was as symbolic as it was important for the Cardinals. It showed Peterson’s teammates that they were serious about planning for the future.
3. Tyrann Mathieu returning – Heading into training camp, there was still a lot of uncertainty about Mathieu’s return -- any time from Week 1 to Week 4 to October were thrown around. But when Mathieu returned to practice Wednesday, it signified that the Honey Badger was closer to a return than expected. His returns adds more depth to the secondary, given his versatility. It’s a matter of time now until he builds that confidence needed to play without thinking.
4. John Abraham arrested – When the NFL’s active sack leader doesn’t report to camp, it’s news. Then it was revealed that Abraham was arrested and charged with DUI in late June in Georgia, and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that Abraham was in rehab. With the losses the defense has suffered this offseason, having Abraham back in camp was a bright spot. Now that he’s helped himself, he’s working on getting back into shape so he can keep climbing up the top 10 of the NFL sacks list.
5. Jake Ballard retiring – Sometimes stories are sad to read, such was the case when Ballard announced his retirement at 26 years old because of knee issues. In a football sense, Ballard’s retirement left the Cardinals’ tight end room without a 6-foot-6, 275-pound blocker with good hands. While Arizona still has depth at tight end, losing Ballard eliminated the two bulky tight ends that fit Bruce Arians' scheme perfectly.