John Brown shows he's healthy, bigger during first Cardinals practice

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The John Brown who took the field for the Arizona Cardinals' first training-camp practice of the season on Saturday looked like an updated version of John Brown from 2015.

Throughout the practice, Brown displayed the hands and speed that made him one of the league's toughest players to defend. And an extra 13 pounds of muscle had Brown looking the part of a game-changing receiver.

Brown said he weighed 185 pounds, up 12 pounds from last season.

"That's a lot compared to last year," Brown said. "I feel good with the weight I've put on, so I'm ready to go."

Brown believes the added bulk will help him this season as he tries to rebound from the worst season of his career, which was marred by the October diagnosis of being a carrier of the sickle cell trait. He also had a cyst on his spine that was drained after the season. A year after his first 1,000-yard season, Brown had a career-low 517 receiving yards, 39 catches and two touchdowns as he fought fatigue and injuries.

After he had the cyst drained, Brown set out to get himself in better shape.

"Once I got the cyst removed I was able to put on weight, take care of my body right," he said. "I was doing a lot of lifting and working out, but somehow I maintain the weight."

He didn't just maintain the weight. Brown also kept the one thing that made him who he is: his speed.

"Of course, of course," he said with a smile. "I'll never lose that."

Saturday's practice was significant for Brown beyond it being the first of the season. He wanted to show that he was back to the level he played at in 2015, which he did a few times, especially with a deep catch and run.

"It's just important just to show I'm back to normal and I can help out," he said.

Brown has been through a turbulent year but returned healthier -- and bigger -- with the hopes of proving himself again. And it was a day he's been looking forward to.

"It was good," Brown said. "I just couldn't wait until this day come just to show [what] I can do."