No. 22 may be on sidelines for scrimmage

Updated: August 1, 2003, 1:18 AM ET

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Emmitt Smith fans beware. The NFL's all-time rushing leader may not see much action in the Arizona Cardinals' team scrimmage.

"Emmitt Smith will be suited on Saturday," coach Dave McGinnis said Thursday, declining to discuss how much time he'll spend on the field.

"I said he'd be suited up," McGinnis responded to another question. "We've got a lot of young running backs to look at."

But the coach offered another clue to the participation of No. 22, which signed with the Cardinals in March after an unhappy parting with the Dallas Cowboys, his team for 14 years.

"We're not going to do anything real exotic this time," McGinnis said. "We've just got young players that I want to get in there and see. It's not going to be the end-all and be-all, believe me. We've got four exhibition games that we're doing our key evaluations off of."


^FAMILY EMERGENCY:@ Anquan Boldin, Arizona's second-round draft pick in April, didn't let his battle for playing time at a crowded position interfere with family ties.

The rookie wide receiver rescheduled his plans Thursday after learning of the death of Annie Reed Boldin, his grandmother.

"I won't be here for the scrimmage (Saturday)," Boldin said. "I had a death in the family, so I'm going back. I'll be a funeral this weekend. I mean, I hope everything goes well with the scrimmage."

The funeral will take place in Pahokee, Fla., Boldin's hometown.

Boldin, a second-round pick and shouldn't have any trouble making the squad later this month. He starred at Florida State, catching 118 passes for 1,790 yards and 21 touchdowns in just 23 starts and won accolades for his team-first attitude.


^ALL HANDS ABOARD:@ The Cardinals got into the heart of training camp Thursday, practicing twice for the first time with everyone accounted for.

The last roster gap was closed the day before, when first-round pick Bryant Johnson arrived in Phoenix, signed a contract, passed his physical and showed up in Flagstaff for the afternoon practice. He worked out on punt returns but was held out of contact.

Defensive end Calvin Pace, who was drafted No. 18 overall to Johnson's No. 17, logged his first practice with the team Tuesday.

The arrivals ran counter to the Cardinals' proverbial tardiness in signing first-round picks -- only twice in the last decade have their top prospects reported earlier than Pace and Johnson.

Cornerback Tom Knight (No. 8 in 1997) signed on July 16, and running back Thomas Jones (No. 3 in 2000) signed on July 23.


^HAMSTRUNG:@ Duane Starks knows he's losing ground by sitting out, but he wants to be sure he's 100 percent when he returns.

The sixth-year cornerback was last year's prize free agent after leaving the Baltimore Ravens for Arizona. But he fizzled during the season, missing six games and finishing with only 60 tackles and two interceptions.

Training camp hasn't started any better -- Starks felt a twinge in his hamstring Sunday and has skipped every practice since.

"It's pretty much gone away, and I just don't want to go out there too soon and have it come back," said Starks, who plans to begin going through drills again Sunday.

Safety Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay) and running back Emmitt Smith (Dallas) also have Super Bowl rings, and tight end Freddie Jones (San Diego) and fullback James Hodgins (St. Louis) have played in the Super Bowl. Starks said collecting that many proven winners could be important for the Cardinals, rebuilding after a 5-11 season.

"It'll spread like cancer -- in a good way," Starks said. "That's what happened in Baltimore. We had Rod Woodson come in, Shannon Sharpe. We had about six guys, maybe eight, that had been to the Super Bowl, that had rings.

"And just the character of those guys and young guys looking up to those guys made a difference."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index