Jermaine Gresham provides veteran leadership

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham has a new team, new uniform number (49) and a fresh start with the Arizona Cardinals.

Gresham listed his reasons for signing a one-year contract last week with Arizona after five productive seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Just very team-oriented, and the owner and GM did a good job selling me on what I have to offer and it worked out well,” Gresham said. “I just see myself as coming in and trying to do my part to help the team."

There was more to it, though, as Gresham confirmed that former Bengals teammate and current Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer helped recruit the Gresham to come to Arizona.

“He did a good job recruiting me,” said Gresham, 27. “He stayed in my phone a lot, just giving me reminders … so I’m happy to make it home for the year.”

Gresham brings experience to a young position on the Cardinals’ roster. No other tight end has more than two years and 10 NFL games, while Gresham has 280 catches for 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns in 74 regular-season games.

“Not just to see a veteran that’s needed, because those guys are pretty smart themselves,” Gresham said of his role. “Just come in, try to win games because the team is damn good, just get in where I fit in.”

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Gresham is on the PUP list after offseason back surgery but is hopeful to get back onto the field soon. A herniated disc in his back forced the operation and made for a difficult offseason.

“Hopefully soon we’ll get everything together and get everything in order and get on the field and try to contribute,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty tough. I had a lot going on this offseason and at the end of the day, I find peace within football. So not being able to play football and whatever, all the other stuff, it was tough, but it’s all behind me now.”