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Cardinals report to camp for first public practice

In this May 20, 2014 file photo, Arizona Cardinals' Kevin Minter (51) works on blocking and rushing drills with teammate Andre Ellington during an NFL football organized team activity in Tempe, Ariz. Minter takes Karlos Dansby's place as the defensive signal caller. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX -- The Valley is in the throes of summer, but believe it or not, it's time for football.

The Arizona Cardinals are ready to start their preseason Cards Camp 2014 inside their air conditioned stadium in Glendale.

It all starts on Friday.

"Players report to University of Phoenix Stadium and check in later (on Friday)," said Cardinals Director of Communications Mark Dalton. "Our first practice is Saturday. Gates open at 1:30 p.m. The practice is at 2 p.m., until about 4:30 p.m."

There will be 18 public practices in the camp this year, and there's more to do than just watch. Kids have an interactive zone with an obstacle course, a quarterback toss and more. Plus, they can get autographs from their favorite players.

"We've got a children's autograph experience for kids 2 to 12. Everyday after practice there will be an autograph area where certain players will go," Dalton explained. "Everybody else can get autographs right after practice along the wall at the bottom of the field, where players are always signing after the sessions."

Admission and parking are free, but Dalton said there is something to keep in mind.

"The parking on the weekdays is simply in the green and gray lots on the east side of the stadium," said Dalton. "On the weekends, we open the west side and the orange lots."

After holding preseason training camp for several years in Flagstaff, this is the second year that Cards camp is being held in Glendale. Dalton said that last year could not have gone better. Over 80,000 people attended, and the Saturday Fan Fest drew over 17,000 people. This year's Fan Fest is set for Aug. 2.

Dalton said there's excitement over this year's team that "we haven't seen since the Super Bowl years." That's because the team went from 5-11 in 2012 to 10-6 last year and has won seven of their last nine games heading into this season.

You can find out more about the Arizona Cardinals preseason at azcardinals.com.

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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