Cardinals’ family approach has helped build up Kevin Minter’s confidence

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Cardinals defense has been getting after the offense in training camp, but there’s two people linebacker Kevin Minter and his crew aren’t allowed to touch.

“Don’t touch 3 (Carson Palmer). That’s been the tale of (training) camp, don’t touch 3 and don’t touch 5 (Drew Stanton),” Minter said. “We’ve been trying our best. You get a little anxious when you’re around them, I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s like keeping a dog on a leash.”

Minter has developed into a “rock ‘em, sock ‘em” kind of linebacker, which is exactly what the Cardinals drafted him to do. Now that Minter is over the pectoral injury he carried all of last season, he can get back to being a 100-percent thumper, instead of a thumper with a bad wing.

“I always go back to school (LSU), I always talk about how that was our pedigree, but it really was,” Minter said. “That’s really what we did all the time, and it’s kind of stuck with me throughout this process going into this league. I can’t not do that; I’m downhill, I’ll hit you in the mouth before I do anything else.”

Not that Minter wasn’t already comfortable being an Arizona Cardinal, but in talking with him, and seeing him out performing at training camp, there’s something different about him. He talks differently, and he carries himself with a different level of confidence than he did in his first two years with the team. Minter says it just took a little time to get used to everybody and being in his new surroundings.

“When you’ve been around these people, (and) teammates like this, (and) great guys like this, they make you feel like it’s a family, they make you feel like everybody’s in for one task, and that’s to win a championship, and I love it,” Minter said. “You can’t help but have your confidence get built up being around guys like this.”

The strange thing about Minter’s pectoral injury is he says after a while, it was “dead,” and it didn’t even hurt anymore, and “it was just there.”

“Trying to strike and get off, that’s my main thing. Being a linebacker, I gotta be able to shed blocks, (and) go make plays. In that strap, it pretty much shortened my arm,” Minter said. “Trying to play a game like that, I’m striking him, but I’m staying with him, (and) we’re just gonna stay right here, but now, I’m getting off, (and) I’m playing my game again, and I’m loving it.”

It’s funny how things come full circle sometimes in life. Three years ago, Minter was in the same position the seven rookie linebackers on Arizona’s roster are today. He was fighting for a job just like they are right now. Minter is relishing the opportunity to tutor the younger players who come to him for help or advice on how to stick around and make a career out of the NFL.

“It’s cool. I’m willing to help as much as I can, because that’s what happened to me when I got here. Carlos (Dansby), Jasper (Brinkley), Daryl (Washington), then when (Larry) Foote came along they helped me with whatever,” Minter said. “Here it’s more of a brotherhood. We’re gonna make you better, regardless of if you’re here or not. That’s the culture we’ve established here, and we’ve obviously kept that going.”

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