Yesterday was the first time in two years fans were allowed back at Cardinals training camp, but being that practice was bright and early on a Friday morning, not too many were on hand.
It was a different story today with a few thousand showing up at State Farm Stadium to watch practice number four for the Cardinals heading into the new season.
“It was loud in there today,” said 7th-year tight end Maxx Williams. “It was weird just having noise. It was like a whole year without ever actually worrying about not hearing something, but it was great obviously. It seemed like the fans were having a good time, music was playing and just finally had a good energy feel.”
“Empty stadiums are no fun,” said new Cardinals fan Abram Cordell. “There's nothing like walking into a stadium and seeing the fans and seeing the team warm up, so it's great.”
The NFL was expecting about 200,000 fans in attendance across the 32 teams training camp practices today. Everyone just trying to get a glimpse of their favorite player. That wouldn’t be the case today for many Cardinals fans, with Larry Fitzgerald not on the field, maybe for good.
“He better (come back),” said nine-year-old Neymar. “I hope he does.”
While fans are back, it’s still not the same as previous training camps. Players can’t sign autographs or take selfies due to health and safety protocols, but even so, everyone in agreement that it’s just nice to be back.
“It's great to see them again. We definitely missed them,” said Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. “The Red Sea is an unbelievable fan base, and it's not the same without them in the stadium. I thought yesterday was fun having some of them. I saw a bunch of smiles on the player's faces, and today will be even bigger and better. I know our guys are fired up to see our fans back in the stadium.”
The Red Sea is excited to see what type of season this team can put together this season. Recent transplants from Michigan even hopping on the Cards bandwagon.
“Not Lions fans for sure. They do not have as much optimism as the Cardinals,” said Cordell. “We're excited to see what they do.”
The Cardinals are off on Sunday, but return on Monday with every practice next week open to fans.